Ireland's ambitions of hosting the 2023 World Cup have suffered a huge blow as World Rugby have today endorsed South Africa as their preferred bid following the report of the technical review committee.
France are second on the list, with Ireland bottom.
South Africa's cities and stadia - many built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup - swung the decision their way, with Ireland ranking bottom in all criteria bar "Vision and Hosting Concept" (we finished second to France on that one).
All three teams presented their bids to a technical review committee in London last month, and answered any questions the committee had in response. The committee then took time to review the bids before making an official recommendation to World Rugby, which will then serve as the bid officially endorsed by the world governing body. World Rugby have also published a 220-page document in support of the recommended bid.
The official vote takes place on November 15th, and while none of those voting are bound by today's recommendation, they are expected to base their decision heavily on the decision.
While a fortnight of intense lobbying will follow, it is unlikely that the host country will deviate from this recommendation.
More to follow