February 26, 2018

France chosen over SA to host 2023 Rugby World Cup

16 November 2017, 02:21 | Frank Carlson

Bundee Aki will make his Test debut against South Africa

Bundee Aki will make his Test debut against South Africa

Ireland players have been expressing their disappointment after hearing that Ireland will not be hosting Rugby World Cup in 2023.

The fog of war that has afflicted the race to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup will lift on Wednesday and is expected to reveal South Africa as outright victors to stage the quadrennial showpiece.

France and the IRFU both foght to overturn South Africa's advantage and IRFU chief executive Philip Browne even wrote a letter to World Rugby to challenge the independent process behind the preferred bidder recommendation.

French officials had publicly complained about many aspects of the evaluation report, accusing World Rugby of incompetence.

Controversy has surrounded bids to host other major sporting events recently and although the Olympic Games remains a secret ballot, Federation Internationale de Football Association has changed its rules to make the vote for the next World Cup an open one.

It was based on evaluations by the Rugby World Cup Board that looked at infrastructure, financial commitments and a variety of other mitigating factors.

Ireland were eliminated in the first round of voting after amassing just eight votes against the 18 from France.

Best right takes on South Africa's Ricky Januarie in 2006 in his first start for Ireland
Best right takes on South Africa's Ricky Januarie in 2006 in his first start for Ireland

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont described the selection process as the "most transparent and comprehensive" in the organisation's history. "The set of rules were broken during that process, which we are upset about", he said, offering a few opaque comments of his own.

"In our letter, we had a great saying by Albert Einstein and here I paraphrase him: "There are a lot of things that can be counted which don't actually count and there are lots of things that count that can't be counted".

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt remains convinced his side's record 30-3 thumping of the Springboks in Dublin on Saturday could swing the vote of World Rugby's member nations today, but that appears to remain a long shot.

"Our feeling was that in a secret ballot people could vote for whoever they wanted without fear", World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said.

"It's like losing in the 79th minute of a match when you're ahead", said Mark Alexander, the SA Rugby president who felt the need to apologise to the nation for raising its expectations.

"We produced a compelling bid that earned the unanimous recommendation of the Board". We wish them every success as they turn their attention to delivering an outstanding tournament.

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