S.Africa eye 2023 prize as bitter battle ends

France beat South Africa and Ireland to host 2023 Rugby World Cup

Ireland has never hosted the World Cup on its own.

"The Welsh, I think, probably wanted to support Gareth Davies [WRU Chairman] who's director of Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) who produced the evaluation report and then disappointingly, the Italians, who we've supported hugely over the past number of years effectively went with the French as well".

Now, to cap it all, the nation's best money-spinning opportunity to reverse the depressing trend has been lost after World Rugby overrode the recommendations of its own board which had evaluated South Africa's 2023 bid as the best.

First of all, an independent evaluation report recommended that South Africa should host the tournament based on a points-based criteria.

In order to be chosen, the successful bidder needed a simple majority of 20 out of the 39 remaining votes - France, Ireland and South Africa were barred from participating in the ballot. "17,000 jobs will be created and I'm very proud of that".

"Despite playing in places like Auckland and Dunedin, it felt as though we were the home team as all of the Irish in that part of the world seemed to come out and support us".

Laporte toned down his cricitism after France were awarded the tournament, but admitted he believed there were aspects of the process he considered to have been unfair.

"We have said throughout that we would honour both the letter and the spirit of the process and we now consider the 2023 bidding process closed".

"That's the fact. We owe it to ourselves, the government and people of Ireland who have been very enthusiastic about it to fight to the end for it".

"There was not much to separate, and we are proud to have won against these two bids".

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

"The Rugby World Cup is such an important sporting event and the benefits of hosting it are substantial".

Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, stated the South Africa had accepted the result despite the disappointment.

"It's bitterly disappointing and quite surprising".

"We did everything in our power to bring the tournament to South Africa and we expected to have that right confirmed today".

"We are disappointed today but we can look back with pride at the significant time and collaborative effort which had been put into our bid and which proved that Ireland has the credentials to host a Rugby World Cup".

"It will be played out in reality that a country coming from a sad past, we will have achieved Nelson Mandela's dream of a true rainbow nation". We wish them every success as they turn their attention to delivering an outstanding tournament.

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