The South African national rugby body lost 33.3 million rand ($2.805mn, 2.280mn euros) last year after investing heavily in a failed bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. SA Rugby ploughed 24.4 million rand into an attempt to stage the four-yearly showpiece of the sport, but lost out to France. Partly bankrolling the participation of former Super Rugby sides Cheetahs and Kings in the predominantly European Pro14 competition cost 37 million rand.
The teams were among three dumped from Super Rugby after the 2017 season in an attempt to curb dwindling crowds and TV audiences. “Investing in the World Cup bid and Pro14 membership were the factors that led to our pre-tax loss of 33.3 million rand,” SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux said. “These extraordinary investments made it impossible to achieve the objective of breaking even in 2017.” An eagerly anticipated three-Test series against England during June should swell SA Rugby coffers this year.
Although the English lost three consecutive Six Nations Championship matches to finish only fifth, tickets for the first international in Johannesburg sold quickly. Another probable money-spinner will be the Rugby Championship Test against greatest rivals the New Zealand All Blacks in Pretoria during October. After two disastrous seasons under coach Allister Coetzee, there is optimism that new handler Rassie Erasmus can transform the Springboks.