French rugby officials voice their joy at winning hosting rights to the 2023 World Cup as South Africa voices its frustration and disappointment.
SHOWS: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (NOVEMBER 15, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF FRENCH BID, CLAUDE ATCHER, SAYING: (SOUNDBITE STARTING OVER SHOT OF SMILING LAPORTE) "How do we feel? Very proud. Very proud of the hard work that we did since eight months. Because we have worked for eight months, only eight months ago. We have with Bernard and the ambassadors travelled around the world to show that France is a fantastic country to host the World Cup 2023." 9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH AFRICAN RUGBY UNION PRESIDENT, MARK ALEXANDER, SAYING: "It is the first time ever World Rugby has voted against their preferred bidder. The World Rugby Board made a recommendation, which was unanimous and to vote against that decision is quite a thing to say to your board." 13. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH AFRICAN RUGBY UNION PRESIDENT, MARK ALEXANDER, SAYING: "You know rugby is a funny thing. You always say that you play the ball, not the man and that is our rules that we played by. We played the ball, we stuck to the rules and I don't think… I don't want to comment on what the others have said because that is not my business to talk about France or Ireland." REPORTER ASKING: "Did you think they continued to play the ball as well?" "I am not too sure. You can ask them." STORY: Bernard Laporte, the head of the French Rugby Federation, was left beaming from ear to ear after France was awarded the rights to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup on Wednesday (November 15). In a huge surprise, the Council of the sport's governing body went against the recommendations of an extensive evaluation report in a secret ballot. South Africa had been recommended by World Rugby's Board but the Council members opted for France, which also staged the tournament in 2007. South African Rugby Union President Mark Alexander was left fuming by the decision and barely contained his frustration when facing the media. The fact that the Council went against the Board's recommendation was a surprise to many and called the whole bidding process into question.