World Rugby 'proud' of selection process as France named shock 2023 Rugby World Cup hosts ahead of Ireland and South Africa
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont says Ireland should 'dust (themselves) down and get on with it' after losing out in the vote to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
France was named as the shock host of the tournament, defying the independent review's recommendation that South Africa should be voted in as the host nation. That recommendation was not binding ahead of the vote by the World Council, in which France earned a majority of the 39 available votes.
Speaking after the official announcement in London on Wednesday lunch-time, Beaumont urged both Ireland and South Africa to take the defeat as if it happened on the pitch.
"I was involved (with England) in a bid many years ago that got three votes, and two of them were from England," he said. "I can understand the disappointment. It's very disappointing for the countries that have worked very hard and put their heart and soul into outstanding bids. It's like a game of rugby, some games you win, others you lose. You've got to shake hands, dust yourselves down and get on with it."
The Head of Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin said that there is no reason why Ireland could not host the World Cup in the future. He said that any of the three bidding nations were fit to host the 2023 edition, but noted that South Africa and France had the edge due to 'experience.'
Beaumont, meanwhile, was quick to defend the selection process and said that the defeat of the independent review's recommendation was no embarrassment for World Rugby.
"It's been an oustatnding process and three great bids. There has always got to be one recommendation and that was South Africa but just because it went to France, it doesn't mean there is humiliation whatsoever.
"We like to think that the process has been open and transparent and that the results of the process were published. It was up to the World Council delegates to decide.
"If you look, there wasn't a great deal between France and South Africa in the evaluation report. It's been an open and transparent process that we're proud of.
"What you can look at is that we've made a recommendation. It wasn't accepted by Council. The two top candidates were close. This is the first time that we've embarked on this process and other sporting bodies are doing a very similar thing.
"With any process, we will look back and have a debrief. Certainly I think we can feel confident in the process. Like any norganisation, the Rugby World Cup will be looking at things we can improve going forward. We're always looking to improve as an organisation."
Brett Gosper, meanwhile, defended the secret ballot used for the final voting process, saying that method was used to ensure votes could be cast 'without fear'.
The 2023 tournament follows the 2019 edition, which takes place in Japan.
England hosted the most recent tournament, in 2015, when New Zealand won a second successive title after victory on home soil in 2011.