Ireland 'standing tall' till the bitter end
REACTION: Ireland's hopes of hosting the Rugby World Cup 2023 has taken mamoth knock after World Rugby board rcommended South Africa.
Seen in many quarters as the frontrunners, Tuesday's announcement significantly reduces Ireland's prospects of hosting the tournament for the first time.
A lot of political capital had been invested in the bid - which had cross-border support from all the Northern Irish political parties and even British Prime Minister Theresa May throwing her support behind it - with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar coming to London for the final presentations last month.
Dick Spring, Chairman of the bid and a former international himself, admitted it was "disappointing" but also sounded a defiant note.
"It is disappointing not to have received the initial recommendation from Rugby World Cup Board, there is nothing in the report which is insurmountable and this is certainly not the end of the road.
"We absolutely believe Ireland can secure the tournament for 2023," he said.
World Rugby will announce the host nation after the World Rugby Council's vote on November 15.
The winner requires a majority of the 39 votes on offer.
"Ultimately, the decision rests with the Council Members of World Rugby, who are elected by Rugby Unions from across the globe. These are individuals and unions who have reacted positively to our message and vision for the tournament, as we crisscrossed the globe over the past two years," Spring said
"Ireland's proposition in this regard is compelling, and so our team will compete to the final whistle as we bid to turn our historic bid plans into reality. We still have confidence that the Council members, who vote on November 15, will place their trust in Ireland to deliver an outstanding 2023 Rugby World Cup," he added