South Africa has defied the country's Government by submitting a bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup by the deadline.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula had announced in April that athletics, cricket, netball and rugby would not be allowed to bid for major events as the national governing bodies in each sport had missed their transformation targets.
SA Rugby, the sport's governing body in South Africa, have submitted the necessary documents by the deadline of midnight on September 1 in the hope they can persuade Mbalula to support their bid.
Without Government support, it is unlikely World Rugby will allow the bid to move to the candidate phase on November 1.
Mbalula, however, is not due to make a decision on whether to lift the ban on bidding until March 2017.
It is then he is scheduled to review the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report.
Mbalula’s decision to suspend the four Federations from bidding came after they agreed on various transformation targets with the Government back in 2014, aimed at increasing the amount of black people playing sport, which they then failed to meet, according to him.
“We have been shadowing the process and have submitted an application as per World Rugby's deadline,” an SA Rugby spokesperson told the Times Media news service.
"However‚ whether we will be permitted to make a bid depends on whether rugby has met the targets we have agreed with Government by the time of the next Eminent Persons' Group report in March next year."
Other countries who have expressed an interest in hosting the 2023 World Cup include Ireland, Italy and France, World Rugby confirmed today.
The United States, who had been reportedly considering bidding, are not among the countries to have filed applications.
During the applicant phase, the first phase of the process, interested countries were provided with the criteria for evaluation.
South Africa last staged the World Cup in 1995.
The tournament was one of the most successful in the event's history.
It was won by the host country and provided one of the most iconic pictures in sport when then South African President Nelson Mandela presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar.
The criteria to host the 2023 World Cup are based on World Rugby's seven priority objectives for the tournament.
They include venues and infrastructure commensurate with a top-tier major event; comprehensive and enforceable public and private sector guarantees; a commercially successful event with a fully funded, robust financial model; operational excellence through an integrated and experienced delivery team; and a vision that engages and inspires domestic and international audiences and contributes to the growth of rugby at all levels.
Other criteria include an enabling environment of political and financial stability that respects the diversity of Rugby World Cup's global stakeholders; and an environment and climate suited to top-level sport in a geography that allows maximum fan mobility
A decision on which country will be chosen is due to be made in November 2017.
Japan is due to host the next edition of the World Cup in 2019.