South Africa in pole position to host 2023 Rugby World Cup

South Africa set to host 2023 Rugby World Cup after seeing bid recommended ahead of rivals France and Ireland

Pull quote: Rugby World Cup chairman and head of the sport's governing body, World Rugby, said SA had emerged as clearly ahead in all seven key criteria, such as stadiums and financial assurances.

The World Rugby Council will vote on the next host on 15 November at a London meeting.

France hosted as recently as 2007, while Ireland hopes to host for the first time.

Former Duleek / Bellewstown GAA player Casey Dunne, who plays rugby for the Athboy Longhorns, didn't make the match day squad as Ireland opened their Rugby League World Cup campaign on Sunday.

Japan is the 2019 World Cup host.

"The comprehensive and independently scrutinized evaluation reaffirmed that we have three exceptional bids but it also identified South Africa as a clear leader based on performance against the key criteria", World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said. However, the sight of then-president Nelson Mandela handing the Webb Ellis Cup to the Springboks' captain, Francois Pienaar, following the final victory over New Zealand has remained one of the most iconic images in world sport, and after putting forward a fresh bid to host the tournament in six years' time, they look to have stolen a march over the French and Irish bids.

The official decision will be made after the World Rugby Council has cast its votes.

"This nomination is confirmation of [our] belief and reward for an outstanding bid in which no detail was too small to be addressed or any question not comprehensively answered", said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.

World Rugby will confirm that a painstaking process of auditing the three candidate countries has concluded with a decision to nominate the "Rainbow Nation" - who last staged the global showpiece in 1995.

France scored 75.9 per cent while Ireland trailed on 72.3 per cent.

Ireland has vowed to "compete to the final whistle", adding "nothing in the report is insurmountable".

South Africa offered a financial sweetener to World Rugby, as did the other countries, promising $52 million more to the worldwide rugby body than the minimum guarantee of $158 million required to host rugby's top event.

"We absolutely believe Ireland can secure the tournament for 2023", Spring said.

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