France has been named as the hosts for the 2023 World Cup, despite a recent evaluation report that identified South Africa as the preferred candidate.
During a dramatic and controversial final bidding process in London on Wednesday, France earned the majority vote over South Africa after a secret ballot involving 26 council members from World Rugby.
South Africa had been named as World Rugby’s preferred candidate on 31 October following a stringent evaluation process, with SA scoring 78.97%, while France’s bid came second (75.88%) and Ireland’s third (72.25%).
However, after last-ditch lobbying from Ireland and France over the last two weeks, it appears that the council members were swayed to reevaluate the recommendation placing South Africa as preferred hosts.
Despite the fact that France held the tournament as recently as 2007, they will now host the World Cup for the second time.
It’s believed that France received 18 votes during the first round of the process, while South Africa earned 13, and Ireland were eliminated from the process after getting eight.
During the second count, France received 24 votes and South Africa 15.