SA Rugby boss makes surprise admission over Rugby World Cup prize money

SA Rugby boss makes surprise admission over Rugby World Cup prize money

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has put an end to the ongoing speculation surrounding the prize money of winning the esteemed Rugby World Cup.

The Springboks defended the Webb Ellis Trophy in Paris last weekend, beating old foes New Zealand 12-11 in an intense battle at Stade de France.

Upon their return home, SABC Sport quizzed Alexander about the official financial windfall awaiting Siya Kolisi and company following their historic feat of winning a record fourth world championship, to which he declared that no official prize money is given by World Rugby.

"World Rugby doesn't give prize money. But we have 'win' bonuses that we plan for for years in advance, so they are taken care of by that. Our players receive prize money and we plan for fours and we do that from World Cup to World Cup," he said. 

World Rugby’s funding model lies in annual grant payments to member unions, with tier-1 nations receiving the largest chunks, as well as additional funds intended for development and research into the sport.

According to its 2022 Year-End Financial Statements, the governing body distributed grants to the tune of R455 million to its various national federations.

Substantial cash incentives were awarded to Women's Africa Cup of Nations winners Banyana Banyana last year and Women's T20 World Cup runners-up Women's Proteas earlier this year to the tune of R15 million and R7.5 million respectively.

However, Minister of Sport, Arts, and Culture Zizi Kodwa refused to declare any government bonuses for the Boks, arguing financial provisions differ when it comes to SA Rugby versus other sporting federations.

"We may be comparing apples and bananas. If you asked what we said about other national teams compared to rugby. You can see how structured and organised SA Rugby is. The issue of bonuses was resolved not on the eve, nor the doorsteps of the tournament", Kodwa told the media upon the four-time world champions' arrival on Tuesday. 

"You can only wish that other federations get the inspiration, and I think it's that kind of leadership that is required. Where you don't have to deal with [monetary] issues at the door of a tournament, because it may affect the performance of players," the minister continued. 

The road to Rugby World Cup success was anything but smooth, with agonising scorelines getting the Boks over the line in their last three knockout encounters against France, England and the All Blacks.

Kodwa instead joked the public holiday declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa will help the nation reflect and overcome the emotional strain.