Ireland’s last-ditch lobbying has South Africa in a sweat over 2023 World Cup

• Council of rugby union’s governing body will announce hosts on Wednesday
• South Africa’s perceived arrogance has emboldened Ireland and France

South Africa remain the strong favourites to be awarded the 2023 Rugby World Cup on Wednesday but there is growing concern that a failure to fully engage in behind-the-scenes lobbying may have opened the door for Ireland or France.

After two weeks of rancour and recrimination from Ireland and France following World Rugby’s evaluation report and subsequent recommendation in favour of South Africa, the council of the sport’s governing body will make its decision in London in a secret ballot – 39 votes are cast, a simple majority of 20 is required for victory.

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