'SA recommended for 2023 rugby world cup'

Rugby League World Cup double header. Ireland v Italy and Scotland v Tonga at Barlow Park Cairns. Island's Liam Kay

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.

The IRFU will be waiting anxiously for the 11am announcement‚ which is a crucial step towards winning the World Cup bid.

Ireland's ambitions of hosting the 2023 World Cup have suffered a huge blow as World Rugby have today endorsed South Africa as their preferred bid following the report of the technical review committee.

In the bid criteria, South Africa led in venues and host cities, tournament infrastructure, and organization and schedule.

He added: "It also identified South Africa as a clear leader based on performance against the key criteria, which is supported by the board in the recommendation". France was better for finance, commercial and government commitments, and the vision and hosting concept.

France scored 75.9 per cent while Ireland trailed on 72.3 per cent.

"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.

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. Football, handball, rugby, France has shown for many years that it knows how to organize events. "We've had several of them on the phone this morning and they've assured us of their support".

"Our team will compete to the final whistle as we bid to turn our historic bid plans into reality".

However, Dick Spring, chairman of Ireland's 2023 bid oversight board, said the country still has confidence the council members will "place their trust in Ireland" come the vote. Durban was stripped of the games after being awarded them because of a lack of financial guarantees.

"In the end, what pulled it through for us was our stadiums, our host cities and our proven track record in terms of hosting global events".

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

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