After the Danish debacle, the fear is that another landslide defeat awaits Ireland today. Optimism that we would host the 2023 Rugby World Cup were dashed by the results of the technical report, which recommended that South Africa host the tournament, with France the next preferred candidate.
With a view to creating a transparent voting process, World Rugby use the technical report as the governing body's official endorsement, and while it is not binding ahead of today's vote, any deviation from the results of that report would be considered a major surprise.
After the publication of the report, France and Ireland set about trying to pick holes in it. Phillip Browne and the Irish bid at least maintained some semblance of dignity in how they did so - writing strongly worded letters - whereas Bernard Laporte engaged in what the Irish Independent wonderfully called "megaphone diplomacy". Laporte slammed the report as "amateur".
The vote takes place later today, with a simple majority (20 of the 39 votes) needed to secure the right to host the tournament. Reports today claim that the result is not the done deal it has been predicted as South Africa's failure to match the lobbying of Ireland and France has thrown the result into doubt.
Chris Foy of the Daily Mail - who had the results of the technical report before they were officially published - reports that the lobbying and fallout has created a potentially "ugly" political situation, with England's RFU reportedly reneging on initial support for the Irish bid, and instead throwing their lot in with France. The Welsh Rugby Union, by contrast, look set to follow New Zealand's example by supporting South Africa as a proxy for supporting the integrity of the process.
The Mail claim that, per their sources on the current pledging of votes, Ireland will drop out of the running with France and South Africa going head-to-head in the second round of voting.