Ireland's World Cup 2023 hopes have just been dealt a massive blow

Oliver Roberts charges at the Italian defence

An official decision will not be made until November 15 although South Africa is all but guaranteed to pip Ireland and France, with World Rugby's council unlikely to go against its board.

World Rugby have redressed the recommendation process following allegations of favouritism and votes being given based on political relationships rather than genuine suitability to host the World Cup, and chairman Bill Beaumont confirmed that South Africa is viewed as the "clear leader" in the 2023 process.

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 [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.

"We are 100 percent confident that the commitments we made in our document will be delivered".

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.

Ireland had been the bookmakers' favourites having never been the main host before while France were the outsiders having staged the tournament in 2007.

From the above criteria, South Africa ranked highest with 78.97%, France second with 75.88% and Ireland third with 72.25%.

Dick Spring, chairman of the bid and a former global himself, admitted it was "disappointing" but also sounded a defiant note.

"While it is disappointing not to have received the initial recommendation there is nothing in the report which is insurmountable and this is certainly not the end of the road", said Spring.

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

Derry had been named in the final 12 cities bidding to stage games in the 2023 World Cup.

"We didn't think we'd been behind South Africa in terms of organizing competitions".

The sporting, political and human drama was told in John Carlin's book "Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation" and was made into the movie "Invictus", with Morgan Freeman playing Mandela.

World Rugby's Council is expected to rubber-stamp the recommendation on November 15 - though it could still opt for any of the three bids. The next World Cup, in 2019, will be in Japan.



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