France has won the bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup ahead of South Africa – who appeared to be the favourite in recent months – and Ireland. It will be the first time that the country has independently held the tournament on its own soil as back in 2007, grounds in Ireland and Wales were used as well as those in France.
The chairman of World Rugby, Bill Beaumont, congratulated France on its success during the official announcement, saying: “Congratulations to France on being elected Rugby World Cup 2023 host. They presented a very strong and comprehensive bid.”
Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi, in turn, has welcomed the news with an official statement: “My congratulations go to Bernard Laporte and the France 2023 team for believing in [the bid] until the end. France has defied expectations… The victory relied on the excellence of the host regions, among which Nice has distinguished itself with our stadium and experience in hosting large-scale events. It is great news for our city and for this magnificent sporting discipline, which I have made a priority in recent years. The 2023 World Cup will be an excellent opportunity for us to reinforce the rugby dynamic on the Côte d’Azur.”
Despite appearing to be the leaders in the run for the bid, South Africa won 13 votes during the first round of voting on Wednesday 15th November while France got 18 (Ireland achieved eight) . It was a clear triumph for France in the second and final round: 24 votes to 15.
The World Cup will be held during September and October of 2023. A total of nine stadiums have been selected as hosts. Locally, the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice and the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille will both play a part. Others include: Stade de France in Paris, Groupama Stadium in Lyon, Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, Matmut Atlantique in Bordeaux, Stade de La Beaujoire in Nantes, the Stadium de Toulouse, and Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne.