South Africa has received the World Rugby board's recommendation to host the 2023 World Cup.
The announcement almost certainly ends Ireland's hopes of staging the tournament on its own for the first time.
An official decision will not be made until November 15 although South Africa is all but guaranteed to pip Ireland and France, with World Rugby's council unlikely to go against its board.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: "The comprehensive and independently scrutinised evaluation reaffirmed that we have three exceptional bids but it also identified South Africa as a clear leader based on performance against the key criteria, which is supported by the board in the recommendation."
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