South Africa's hopes of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup received a significant boost on Tuesday after the country was recommended as the preferred host nation.
This announcement was made by World Rugby after the global rugby governing body received an independent recommendation as to which country should host the 2023 tournament.
South Africa was named in preference to fellow bidders France and Ireland as the candidate best able to fulfil the agreed criteria laid out by World Rugby to deliver a successful and profitable tournament.
"Based on the evaluation contained in this report, the candidate that scored the highest marks and is therefore deemed to be the optimal candidate to host Rugby World Cup 2023 is South Africa," said the report.
"It is the recommendation of the RWCL Board of Directors to World Rugby Council that South Africa should be awarded the right to host Rugby World Cup 2023."
South Africa still has to clear one final hurdle before the celebrations can begin.
The recommendation will now be put to the vote of the World Rugby Council in London on November 15. All three candidates will appear on the ballot paper but World Rugby has stressed to its members that recommendation of the Evaluation Committee should be taken into consideration.
There are 39 votes at stake with a simple majority required to determine the eventual host nation. The candidate nations do not have a vote.
South Africa's 827-page, 8.2kg bid book included a commitment from the South African government to exceed the minimum guarantee of £120m required by World Rugby with an additional guarantee of £40m. SA Rugby forecast another £60m in profit for World Rugby from hospitality sales and savings on event costs because of the exchange rate.
The tournament promises the largest ever attendance for a final with a record 87 436 spectators at the FNB Stadium as part of an availability of 2.9m match tickets for the event - also a record.
The required minimum number of at least eight world-class venues in established rugby centres are already in place - the smallest of which has a fully seated capacity of 43 500 - all of them familiar with hosting Test matches and with no need for extra infrastructure investment by Government to meet World Rugby requirements.
Hosting the tournament will also produce major benefits for South Africa with a forecast R27 billion in direct, indirect and induced economic impact for the country.
It is estimated that R5.7billion of that would flow to low income households while 38 600 temporary or permanent jobs would be sustained with an estimated R1.4 billion direct tax benefit to government.
In addition, SA Rugby's legacy vision is to introduce 1m young South Africans to rugby between now and 2027.
"Hosting Rugby World Cup 2023 will be a massive boost for our country as well as the game of rugby," said Roux.
"This is the fourth successive time we have bid for the tournament: this is not a 'nice-to-have' for rugby in South Africa - the opportunity to recapture just some of the spirit of 1995 has been an obsession for us."
Those eligible to vote in the secret ballot on November 15 are: Australia (3 votes), England (3), New Zealand (3), Scotland (3), Wales (3), Italy (3), Argentina (3), Canada (1), Japan (2), Georgia (1), Romania (1), USA (1), Asia Rugby (2), Oceania Rugby (2), Rugby Africa (2), Rugby Americas North (2), Rugby Europe (2), Sudamerica Rugby (2).
The final decision will be announced by World Rugby at approximately 13:00 (SA time) on November 15, 2017.Suggest a correction