'SA recommended for 2023 rugby world cup'

South Africa-whose bid had looked weakened by Durban's withdrawing as hosts of the 2022 Commonwealth Games and abandoning recently plans for a Twenty20 tournament-understandably reacted with delight but noted that they still needed to have it rubberstamped by gaining a majority of the 39 votes on offer in November.

South Africa's 2023 bid played heavily off the memories of '95, as well as its recent success in hosting the 2010 soccer World Cup, and its favorable exchange rate, which promises a cheaper World Cup experience for traveling fans than one in Europe.

South Africa offered a financial sweetener to World Rugby, as did the other countries, promising $52 million more to the worldwide rugby body than the minimum guarantee of $158 million required to host rugby's top event. Ireland's bid was fronted by leading rugby names such as Brian O'Driscoll, while celebrities such as Bono of U2, Bob Geldof and actor Liam Neeson were all part of the official bid.

France and South Africa have made large financial commitments, but bid ambassador Brian O'Driscoll says it is not all about the money. The next World Cup, in 2019, will be in Japan.

SA, who hosted the 1995 tournament, will learn whether the World Rugby Council votes according to the recommendation on November 15, with Ireland and France the other two options.

The candidate nations do not have a vote, but there are three each for the rest of the Six Nations and SANZAAR countries; England, Italy, Scotland, Wales, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

The six regional associations and Japan have two votes each and the individual unions of Canada, Georgia, the United States of America and Romania have one vote. Any bid that crosses the 20-vote mark will be awarded the 2023 World Cup. "But it also identified SA as a clear leader based on performance against the key criteria, which is supported by the board in the recommendation".

In it, the board recommends their host for 2023 tournament and it will surely have a bearing on the final council decision, announced in London on November 15.

World Rugby will confirm that a painstaking process of auditing the three candidate countries has concluded with a decision to nominate the "Rainbow Nation" - who last staged the global showpiece in 1995.

"I would like to congratulate South Africa on a superb bid and all the bid teams for their dedication and professionalism throughout the process to date".


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