Ireland misses out on Rugby World Cup 2023

Shane Ross said it was a disappointing result for Ireland

"We produced a compelling bid document that earned the unanimous recommendation of the Rugby World Cup Ltd board".

Going into the vote in London on Wednesday, the bid from South Africa were strong favourites following the meticulous auditing process and it was widely thought that the World Rugby council would simply ratify this decision, as they have done in past votes.

However, it has officially been decided that France will hold the event for a third time.

World Rugby's technical review group released findings last month that Ireland's bid is the weakest of the three but many are hopeful that we'll come out on top.

"Unfortunately, it's unlikely that I'll be lacing up my boots when that time comes but I'll look forward to playing my part from the stands alongside the world's greatest supporters".

The exodus of South African players in search of better opportunities overseas continues apace, the financial state of the game there remains parlous and the once-mighty Boks suffered the worst in a succession of humbling defeats in August, 57-0 to the All Blacks.

France got 24 votes to South Africa's 15 in the final round of voting.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont described the selection process as the "most transparent and comprehensive" in the organisation's history.

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"We did dispute some aspects but I'm not saying that's why we won", he said.

"It would have been a huge honour and privilege for the people of Ireland to host the world for a few special weeks and for us to represent them".

The four other unions, from Canada, Georgia, Romania and the United States, had one vote apiece.

He stated the close scores between South Africa and eventual winners France as showing the high quality bids submitted.

Browne, who has been in his post since 1998 and been responsible for successfully guiding Irish rugby from the amateur era to the professional world, believes though the prize is still up for grabs.

Former Ulster and Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris added: "Having played in New Zealand in 2011, I've seen at first-hand how special an experience a World Cup can be".

Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, stated the South Africa had accepted the result despite the disappointment.

"We did everything in our power to bring the tournament to South Africa and we expected to have that right confirmed today".

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