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SA to bid for 2023 Rugby World Cup

Saru must now receive approval from the Sascoc and government.

FILE: 2015 Rugby World Cup trophy on board the HMS Iron Duke in Cape Town. Picture by: Aletta Garner/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa will bid to host the 2023 World Cup and hope to make it fourth time lucky after three unsuccessful attempts, the country's rugby union (Saru) said on Wednesday.

Saru must now receive approval from the country's national Olympic Committee and government, but this is seen as a formality with the bid process to open in May.

They will face competition from at least Ireland, who announced their intention to bid in December.

"We definitely expect to be bidding to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, as we have for the past three tournaments," Saru CEO Jurie Roux said in a statement.

"By the time the tournament comes round it will be 28 years since Nelson Mandela handed the trophy to Francois Pienaar and I believe that South Africa is hungry to once again host rugby's greatest occasion.

"The 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 2010 Fifa World Cup were magnificent occasions for our nation and for the respective sports and the prospect of being able to repeat those unforgettable occasions is very exciting."

The winning bid will be announced in May 2017.

If South Africa are to stage the tournament, there will be a break in the pattern of hosts since the event was first played in Australia and New Zealand in 1987.

So far the competition has alternated between a European host and a country from outside the continent, but with the 2019 World Cup to be staged in Japan, it would mean consecutive tournaments being staged away from Europe for the first time.