France has controversially been selected to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup ahead of South Africa and Ireland.

An evaluation report undertaken by World Rugby and third-party experts last month had unanimously picked South Africa as the "optimal choice" for the 10th edition of the tournament, prompting a critical response from the French bid on certain key points.

But France beat South Africa 24-15 in a second round of voting. It means France will host prestigious events back-to-back, with the 2024 Olympic Games being held in Paris the following year.

"I am delighted for France," world rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said, after describing the process as the most transparent in its history. "They have run a World Cup before and I think it will be an exciting World Cup.

"We feel for the first time that within World Rugby we have put the results of our evaluation out to the general public."

The Springboks have not hosted the event since winning it for the first time in 1995 but appeared on course to take on the tournament after being named the preferred candidate two weeks ago.