South Africa has New Zealand's support to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

World Rugby announced this week South Africa came through a vigorous process to emerge ahead of France and Ireland as preferred hosts.

South Africa scored 78.97 per cent; France 75.88 and Ireland 72.25 over a range of criteria from World Rugby's technical review board.

The decision is not binding, with intense lobbying to now begin and votes still to be cast on November 15, but New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew has revealed his three votes will go the way of the Sanzaar partner.


"From a New Zealand point of view, our board made a decision early on that if the process was seen to have worked well and been done fairly and professionally then it would be very hard not to vote the way of the recommendation," Tew told the Weekend Herald in London.

"While the scores are relatively close there was a clear margin. South Africa is the best candidate so we'll be guided by the recommendation and vote accordingly.

"As a councillor I would like to think the recommendation will be a very strong lead for everyone sitting around that table. We all agreed a process and criteria and as far as I can tell it's all been done very well, produced a result and we should all now vote for that but I'll only be sitting there with New Zealand's votes."

Of the three bids, many pundits felt for Ireland. Similarities could be drawn to New Zealand with its size, passion for rugby and struggles to deliver the same revenue as others. Unlike France and South Africa, Ireland is also yet to host the global rugby tournament.

"They presented the way the tournament would work if it was allocated to Ireland very well. I'm not going to comment on what proposal would be better than the other. In 2003, New Zealand went through a very different process where we started off hosting a part of it and ended up hosting none. In 2005, when we went through the bid process, we were lucky enough to be successful.

"When you have three strong candidates, as we did for 2011, you're going to have a disappointed group or two. One would hope they'd be keen to have a go in 2027. World Rugby is in a good position."

Tew watched South Africa's first Rugby World Cup in 1995 at home. Like other New Zealanders, he was left devastated by the result of the final [the Springboks beat the All Blacks in extra time] but appreciated what the tournament did for South Africa, and believes it could achieve similar benefits this time around.

"South Africa will run a fantastic Rugby World Cup. It's a country that rugby is really important to; they've got great stadiums, both old and new ones that were produced for the Fifa World Cup and it is on the African continent and that's a magical place."