Update 1.05pm: France has today been awarded the right to host Rugby World Cup 2023 ahead of Ireland and South Africa.
South Africa was previously named as the preferred host nation by World Rugby’s independent review, but that sparked spiky reactions over that process from Ireland and France.
The announcement was made by World Rugby president Bill Beaumont at Kensington’s Royal Garden Hotel in London.
A simple majority from the 39 votes was required and France claimed 18 votes to South Africa’s 13 in the first round of voting. Ireland had eight votes and were eliminated.
The second round saw France claim 24 votes to South Africa’s 15 to be named hosts for a second time, after 2007.
Beaumont had emphasised the “transparent selection process” before announcing the host, when World Rugby’s member nations went against the recommendation.
The move could be seen as embarrassing for the sport’s world governing body.
The 10th edition of the tournament coincides with the 200th anniversary of the birth of the sport, when William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it during a game of football at Rugby School.
Beaumont said: “We’ve been fortunate to have three great bids. There’s going to be two countries extremely disappointed.
“Certainly delighted for France. It will be a really exciting tournament.”
France and Ireland had contested the independent evaluation committee’s preference for South Africa and both remained confident of winning the race on Wednesday.
But it was France who proved most persuasive as the voting delegates opted against following the advice to choose South Africa, which hosted the tournament in 1995.
The 2023 tournament follows the 2019 edition, which takes place in Japan.
England hosted the most recent tournament, in 2015, when New Zealand won a second successive title after victory on home soil in 2011.
World Rugby are to announce the country to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup at 1pm.
Ireland are one of three countries vying for the right to host the tournament, but South Africa are believed to be favourites for it after World Rugby’s independent review chose them as the preferred host nation.
France are also in the running for it, but it will be decided today in London.
A simple majority from the 39 votes is required, and the result will be announced live on their website at 1pm.