NZ Journalist Slams World Rugby’s Decision To Select South Africa Over Ireland

“You can vote for money. Or you can vote for beer and laughter and fellowship.”

Mark Reason is a bit of an outspoken journalist, that tends to piss a lot of people off most of the time, but he’s absolutely bang on the money this time round if you ask us.

In his latest piece he discusses World Rugby’s decision to recommend the South Africa as host nation for the 2023 Rugby World Cup and he believes the entire process is a farce and he has some very valid points.

He believes smaller nations might as well forget about attempting to host rugby’s showpiece event going forward based on the current evaluation process.

“In fact no smaller nation has the slightest chance of ever again holding a Rugby World Cup if we are going to play be these rules. In future only England, France, South Africa and Australia need apply because the evaluation process appears to be rigged. And here’s how.
Although it carries the smallest weighting of the five categories, ‘organisation and schedule’ was perhaps the most symbolic in terms of Ireland’s doomed bid. World Rugby could in fact re-name this category ‘Catch 22.’
One of the requirements is that the “bid demonstrates the host nation has substantial experience in hosting major events.” In other words Ireland was stuffed from the get go. How are you ever going to get experience of hosting a major event, if the requirement of hosting a major event is to have experience of hosting a major event?”

A valid point. How is Ireland supposed to gain this experience if no one is willing to give them a shot to begin with? He also questions the ‘Venues and Host Cities’ category, with some valid points.

The same thing happened to Ireland around the category ‘Venues and Host Cities’. Despite the fact that their bid is a remarkable symbol of unification between the two old foes of rugby and Gaelic football, the south and the north, Ireland were once more marked down because they would be upgrading some of their venues. This is apparently unacceptably risky.
You have to laugh at such an assessment when everything that South Africa says is taken at face value. The French federation is also furious, pointing out “blatant errors” and “incompetence” to World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont over the assessment of their stadia availability, hotels and drug testing programme. Yet South Africa, the politically most unstable of the three countries by far, a nation that was on the brink of sending the last World Cup into chaos, has had everything taken on trust.

When it comes to transport and finance, it’s more of the same.

The judges even slaughtered Ireland in the transport category, but scored South Africa equally with them in the security category. Well, if being car-jacked is your thing, then I guess that makes a lot of sense. But really?
And of course South Africa won the part of the bid called ‘Financial, Commercial and Commitments’. In other words they pledged the most money. Ireland offered $230 million with a government payment guarantee, France offered $288 million underwritten by the government (ooh, score them down) and South Africa offered $307 million with a government guarantee.

Reason has urged New Zealand and the other nations, to ignore World Rugby and hand the tournament to Ireland.

But New Zealand and all the other unions who are due to vote on November 15, you don’t have to go along with all this spreadsheet sewage. You can still vote for the craic. You can still vote for a game that unifies a country. You still can vote for a World Cup that will bring improved stadia to a Celtic tiger that lost its roar long ago. You can still vote for some of the best fans in the world.
The choice is yours. You can vote for money. Or you can vote for beer and laughter and fellowship. It used to be what sport was all about.
Jason Hennessy

Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor at RugbyLAD. Any queries big or small you can reach him at [email protected]
Jason Hennessy

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