Ireland 2023 RWC bid on the ropes as report endorses South Africa

Saul Bowman
November 1, 2017

South Africa hosted and won the Rugby World Cup in 1995, a tournament made memorable by the appearance of the late Nelson Mandela at the final in Johannesburg wearing a Springboks jersey.

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

What remains now is to wait for the vote of eligible member unions on 15 November.

The board made its recommendation following detailed consideration of the host candidate evaluation report.

Despite their readmission in 1992 to worldwide rugby, after years of apartheid-enforced sporting isolation, South Africa used home advantage so well that the debutants reached the World Cup final in 1995.

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


"The evaluation of the detailed bid submissions has been led by a team of World Rugby and external area experts". These include venues and infrastructure, commercial success, operational excellence, an inspirational vision, political and financial stability, public and private sector guarantees - and suitable climate and geography.

"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.

Instead, the World Rugby Council will meet in London next month to vote on which country will receive the right to host the competition and chairman of Ireland's bid oversight board Dick Spring believes the vote will still go their way.

"Regardless of the final decision it should not stop us from constantly being on the lookout for bringing large scale sporting tournaments to Ireland with Derry and wider region being part of those plans".

Worrying news for all involved with Ireland's World Cup 2023 bid.

. "In line with World Rugby's mission to deliver a ground-breaking, rigorous and fully transparent host selection process for its showcase event, the report is being published today as agreed by Council".

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

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