Last month World Rugby published an evaluation report which said South Africa should be chosen as hosts with an overall rating of 78.97%, compared with 75.88% for France and 72.25% for Ireland, across a range of criteria.
"I would like to pay tribute to Ireland and South Africa for their dedication throughout a rigorous, and transparent process and hope that they will bid again".
The news comes as a shock, as SA had been recommended by World Rugby's Board but the council members voted for France.
It's confirmed: Ireland miss out on 2023 Rugby World Cup to France
In total, 39 votes were accumulated based on the breakdown of different countries' weights to determine who would host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.
"We produced a compelling bid document that earned the unanimous recommendation of the Rugby World Cup Ltd board".
"We can not hide our desolation but, for the sake of rugby we wish the 2023 tournament hosts every success".
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The three bidding countries did not take part in the ballot.
"Crazy. I wonder why they even appointed an independent firm to make a recommendation?".
"I am delighted for France".
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"The ability to submit clarification requests following the publication of the recommendation and comprehensive report on 31 October was agreed and permitted within the host selection process operated by World Rugby".
Browne admits he has to choose his words carefully so he doesn't get a rap on the knuckles from World Rugby while also serving the Irish government who having invested both a lot of political capital and money in the bid will want answers.
David Sterling, Head of Northern Ireland Civil Service: "I too would like to congratulate France and wish them well for a successful tournament in 2023".
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The exodus of South African players in search of better opportunities overseas continues apace, the financial state of the game there remains parlous and the once-mighty Boks suffered the worst in a succession of humbling defeats in August, 57-0 to the All Blacks. In that time we developed a world class proposition which reflected positively on Ireland and saw us formally acknowledged as a destination well capable of hosting a superb Rugby World Cup.