South Africa loses bid to host 2023 Rugby World Cup to France


France will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup in a huge surprise after the Council of the sport's governing body went against the recommendations of an extensive evaluation report in a secret ballot on Wednesday.

South Africa was named as the preferred host nation by World Rugby's independent review, but that only sparked spiky reactions over that process from Ireland and France.

Last month World Rugby published an evaluation report which said South Africa should be chosen given it had an overall rating of 78.97, compared with 75.88 for France and 72.25 for Ireland, across a range of criteria.

France received 24 votes to South Africa's 15 in the final round of voting.

More details to follow.

Ultimately, the rugby world is reeling and IRFU's Chief Executive Phillip Browne outlined his disappointment to Matt Cooper on Today FM with the Scots and Welsh some of the focus of that disappointment.

"I'm obviously hugely disappointed that we were unsuccessful in our bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023, but I'd like to wish France all the very best in their preparations for the tournament", said Leinster and Ireland centre Garry Ringrose.

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"The ability to submit clarification requests following the publication of the recommendation and comprehensive report on 31 October was agreed and permitted within the host selection process operated by World Rugby. The set of rules were broken during that process, which we are upset about", he said, offering a few opaque comments of his own.

"We have been fortunate to have had three great bids", said Bill Beaumont, World Rugby chairman.

"We thank World Rugby for replying to our letter".

England hosted the most recent tournament, in 2015, when New Zealand won a second successive title after victory on home soil in 2011.

It means France will host four prestigious sporting events within six years, with golf's Ryder Cup in Paris next year and soccer's Women's World Cup across France in 2019.

The four other unions, from Canada, Georgia, Romania and the United States, had one vote apiece.

"We did everything in our power to bring the tournament to South Africa and we expected to have that right confirmed today. That recommendation was questioned last week by rivals, but endorsed a second time by World Rugby last week", he said.