Perhaps Durban losing the 2022 Commonwealth Games has taught some salutary lessons about what is possible and what is not in the fractured realm of South African sport.
Certainly, new Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi had a bullish take on this country bidding to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup during meetings with SA Rugby president Mark Alexander and CEO Jurie Roux during the past week.
“Rugby is very important,” Nxesi said.
“We know our team had a slump last year, but we believe we will go back to where we belong as South African rugby.”
Those were indeed encouraging words for the Springboks and their embattled coach Allister Coetzee.
But Nxesi also pointed out much of the cost – a major factor in sinking Durban – was already there from the infrastructure developed in 1995 and the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
“It means the hosting costs would be seriously reduced and I believe that the hosting of the Rugby World Cup in 2023 can also leave a huge legacy and make a big impact, just like soccer did [in 2010].”
Nxesi didn’t refer to the quotas his predecessor Fikile Mbalula had virtually imprinted on the conditions for hosting major sporting events during his tenure, but made strong reference to development instead.