Ireland bid rocked as report backs South Africa to host tournament

  • Ireland bid rocked as report backs South Africa to host tournament

Ireland bid rocked as report backs South Africa to host tournament

The final decision will be made on November 15 in London in a secret ballot of World Rugby council members. South Africa scored 78.97 percent, France 75.88, and Ireland 72.25. Given that the tournament will next be held in Japan, in 2019, such guarantees may yet hold water when the final vote takes place.

Ireland, who were initial favourites to host the tournament, are understood to have finished last in World Rugby's recommendation.

South Africa is in pole position to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup after being recommended by the game's governing body, ahead of bids put forward by both Ireland and France.

South Africa said in its bid presentation that its World Cup would be a "triple win" for World Rugby, promising record gate receipts for matches, a tourist destination experience for fans, and a tournament focused on providing top-quality facilities for players to perform.

World Rugby have redressed the recommendation process following allegations of favouritism and votes being given based on political relationships rather than genuine suitability to host the World Cup, and chairman Bill Beaumont confirmed that South Africa is viewed as the "clear leader" in the 2023 process.

But Irish bid committee chairman Dick Spring insists they're not giving up yet.

Should our bid be successful, we must ensure that the World Cup benefits our economy and that the event creates jobs for the 9.4 million unemployed people in our country.

Despite their readmission in 1992 to global rugby, after years of apartheid-enforced sporting isolation, South Africa used home advantage so well that the debutants reached the World Cup final in 1995.

"Regardless of the final decision it should not stop us from constantly being on the lookout for bringing large scale sporting tournaments to Ireland with Derry and wider region being part of those plans".

"The day's crowning moment came before the game had even begun, when Mandela went out onto the field, before a crowd of 65,000 that was 95% white, wearing the green Springbok jersey, the old symbol of oppression, beloved of his apartheid jailers", he wrote.

The council members who will vote on the host are free to ignore today's endorsement with the result being announced on November 15th.