World Rugby has named South Africa as their preferred candidate to host the Rugby World Cup 2023.
The announcement was made on Tuesday following the assessment of a team of 10 World Rugby, Rugby World Cup Limited managers and independent area experts.
The final decision will be announced by World Rugby on 15 November, 2017.
Other countries biding to host the event are Ireland and France.
A massive achievement for SA Rugby
The last time the World Cup visited South Africa was in 1995; one of the most memorable editions of the tournament as the Springboks defeated the All Blacks in an epic final, it was an event that united a crumbled country.
Now, in a massive achievement for South African rugby, there is a big chance of hosting the competition again.
The assessment, which began on 1 June, 2017, placed SA as the best bid with a grade of 79 points, followed by France with 76 and Ireland with 72.
The intensive selection process determined a financial model and the viability of each country to host the tournament, as well as ensuring sufficient revenues to continue the development of World Rugby.
A key for the World Rugby’s decision, was the government’s £160m financial guarantee, dispelling fears of commercial failure for the rugby world governing body.
Also, the fact that South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup means that the country has at least eight all-seater modern stadiums to host the Rugby World Cup.
“This nomination is confirmation of that belief and reward for an outstanding bid in which no detail was too small to be addressed or any question not comprehensively answered,” told South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux to AFP.
What’s the next step?
What remains now is to wait for the vote of eligible member unions on 15 November.
The voting will be by secret ballot and it is expected that each member takes the previous assessment into consideration.
None of the three candidates are allowed to vote, instead, 39 votes have been distributed among member unions of World Rugby.
Those eligible to vote are: Australia (3 votes), England (3), New Zealand (3), Scotland (3), Wales (3), Italy (3), Argentina (3), Canada (1), Japan (2), Georgia (1), Romania (1), USA (1), Asia Rugby (2), Oceania Rugby (2), Rugby Africa (2), Rugby Americas North (2), Rugby Europe (2), South America Rugby (2).
The host of the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be announced at a media conference immediately after the vote on 15 November.