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South African Rugby chief questions 'opaque' World Cup decision process

South Africa were favourites to stage the World Cup in six years’ time, but the tournament will return to France.

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux
SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux

SOUTH AFRICAN RUGBY will not appeal against a surprise vote to award the 2023 Rugby World Cup to France but called for a change to a decision process which chief executive Jurie Roux said became “opaque”.

South Africa were favourites to stage the 10th edition of the tournament after their bid was unanimously recommended by the Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) board last month.

World Rugby Council members voted in favour of France in London on Wednesday, though, leaving South Africa shell-shocked and Ireland also missing out.

France received 18 votes in the first round to South Africa’s 13, with Ireland’s hopes ending after they only secured eight votes.

South Africa only received 15 votes in the second round to France’s 24, to the dismay of Roux and SA Rugby.

“We have said throughout that we would honour both the letter and the spirit of the process and we now consider the 2023 bidding process closed,” SA Rugby CEO Roux said.

“However, in the feedback sessions I am sure we will be recommending to the World Rugby Council that the verdict of the evaluation committee become binding.

“World Rugby ran an exhaustive and transparent process for 15 months to identify the best host nation, only for the process to go entirely opaque for the past two weeks.”

France will host the competition solo for a second time, having also staged the 2007 tournament.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said: “We are bitterly disappointed at this decision and would like to apologise to the people and government of South Africa for raising their hopes,

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

“We produced a compelling bid document that earned the unanimous recommendation of the Rugby World Cup Ltd board. That recommendation was questioned last week by rivals, but endorsed a second time by World Rugby last week.

“However, the view of the experts and World Rugby’s leadership was overturned by World Rugby Council members, who may have had other factors to take into account. We cannot hide our desolation but, for the sake of rugby we wish the 2023 tournament hosts every success.”

-Omni

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