France will host the Rugby World Cup 2023 after winning the most votes casted by rugby-playing nations at a lunch in London this lunch time.
Ireland were knocked out in the first round with just eight votes while France received 18 and South Africa received 13. In the second count, France won 24 votes compared to South Africa’s 15.
Unlike their French counterparts, criticism of the South African bid was of no help to their cause and will leave the Irish bidding committee with a few red faces.
The main talking point in the press conference was not the victory for France but the first two questions challenged World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont on the nature of the vote. On both occasions he defended the vote stating it was “clear and transparent,” however looked increasingly nervy as the media conference went on.
Despite the RFU backing the Irish vote, the council acknowledged World Rugby’s advice on Ireland’s lack of world class tournament experience as well as the concerns raised over Cork’s Parc Ui Chaoimh, Galway’s Pearse Stadium, Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney not to forget the controversy over Casement Park.
In the press conference succeeding the announcement IRFU Chief Executive, Philip Browne was inevitably very disappointed but defended the process: “I truly believe that World Rugby put a good process in place, it was transparent for the last two years and I think if we had any difficulty it was from the evaluation report.
“I think a lot of people liked our vision for the Rugby World Cup.”
The rugby world did not buy Ireland’s promise of ‘it’ll be good craic,’ and, according to Rúaidhrí O’Connor of the Irish Independent, it is unlikely that Ireland will bid for the World Cup again.
However Brown responded: “It’s much too soon to be asking about that. We need to regroup in a month or two and see if we could have done anything better.
“World Rugby and Rugby World Cup need to decide what kind of World Cup they want to have.”
It’s a major disappointment for Ireland but this is the fourth time that South Africa have failed to secure a Rugby World Cup.