Sunday 25 August 2019

'The joys of a secret ballot' - Springbok legend describes World Rugby as an 'old boys club' after controversial vote

Joel Stransky (inset) is not happy with the decision to award France the hosting rights to the 2023 Rugby World Cup
Joel Stransky (inset) is not happy with the decision to award France the hosting rights to the 2023 Rugby World Cup Newsdesk Newsdesk

France will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup after being selected ahead of South Africa and Ireland, World Rugby president Bill Beaumont announced on Wednesday.

South Africa was expected to be awarded the tournament for a second time after being named as the preferred host nation by World Rugby's independent review, but France instead won the vote of member nations.

A simple majority from the 39 votes was required and France claimed 18 votes to South Africa's 13 in the first round of voting. Ireland had eight votes and were eliminated.

The second round saw France claim 24 votes to South Africa's 15 to be named hosts for a second time, after 2007.

The decision has been met with disappointment in Ireland but utter dismay in South Africa.

Springbok legend Joe Stransky said the vote against World Rugby's recommendation proves there is an 'old boys club' within World Rugby.

"We are all bitterly disappointed and quite shocked," he told South African TV channel SuperSport.   

"One has to ask the question, why has the vote gone against the recommendation when most of the unions said they would vote with the recommendation? Its bitterly disappointing and quite surprising.    

International Rugby Newsletter

Rugby insights and commentary from our renowned journalists like Neil Francis, Will Slattery, Alan Quinlan & Cian Tracey.

"You can only imagine the lobbying that has gone on behind the scenes and the one thing that it does fix in my mind is that it is an old boys club still making decisions at World Rugby.  

"Ultimately, your bid can be as good as you like, but you have to lobby to get those blokes on your side. Which means nothing has really changed, so what is the point of having an independent auditor if you are not going to take the recommendation?"

John Smit, South Africa's captain in 2007, said: "That is devastating news, the joys of a secret ballot."

left pod.jpg

Subscribe to The Left Wing,'s Rugby podcast, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.

Listen and subscribe to The Left Wing on iTunes and Soundcloud

Online Editors

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport