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SA Rugby chief questions 'opaque' World Cup decision process

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux

SA 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”.

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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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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Turlough 4 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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