The French delegation, including union president Bernard Laporte and former players Frederic Michalak and Sebastian Chabal, celebrate on Wednesday after winning the bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
France have been named as the host of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, following a vote by World Rugby's 31 Council members here today.
France and the IRFU both foght to overturn South Africa's advantage and IRFU chief executive Philip Browne even wrote a letter to World Rugby to challenge the independent process behind the preferred bidder recommendation.
"We believe this is the most comprehensive and transparent host selection process ever undertaken by World Rugby".
The tournament also comes a year before France hosts the 2024 Olympic Games. "We now look forward to working in partnership with France to deliver what I am sure will be a very successful Rugby World Cup in 2023".
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.
World Rugby replied with clarifications but it is now up to the 39 votes on its Council to decide whether they accept the unanimous decision of the Rugby World Cup board to award South Africa the hosting rights for the second time.
"I would like to thank the Ministry of Sport and they gave a very important guarantee for the competition".
Joe Schmidt is preparing his side for the World Cup and taking a look at a number of players
"Despite playing in places like Auckland and Dunedin, it felt as though we were the home team as all of the Irish in that part of the world seemed to come out and support us".
"We thank World Rugby for replying to our letter".
"There was not much to separate, and we are proud to have won against these two bids".
"There's all these issues which are hard for us to understand", he said.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt had been convinced his side's record 30-3 thumping of the Springboks in Dublin on Saturday could swing the vote of World Rugby's member nations, but that hope has now been dashed.
"Our feeling was that in a secret ballot people could vote for whoever they wanted without fear", World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said. Football has been mired in scandal over the staging of its World Cup. "That recommendation was questioned last week by rivals, but endorsed a second time by World Rugby last week", he said.
"We can not hide our desolation but, for the sake of rugby we wish the 2023 tournament hosts every success".