France has won the right to stage the 2023 World Cup it was announced today, despite finishing behind rival bidders South Africa in an evaluation report.
France to stage World Cup for second time
The report, which has been widely criticized by both France and Ireland, the third bidding country, was not binding on the remaining members of the World Rugby Council, who voted in London.
Wednesday's decision, announced by World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, means France will be staging a World Cup for the second time, having previously hosted the 2007 edition. The tournament also comes a year before France hosts the 2024 Olympic Games.
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. The first round finished with France on 18 votes, 1995 hosts South Africa on 13 and Ireland, who've yet to be the main hosts of a World Cup, eight. With Ireland dropping out, France beat South Africa by 24 votes to 15 in the second round.
South Africa misses out
Last month World Rugby published an evaluation report which said South Africa should be chosen given it had an overall rating of 78.97, compared with 75.88 for France and 72.25 for Ireland, across a range of criteria.