Cape Town - South Africa can count New Zealand Rugby’s support when the final votes are cast to determine the host nation for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
This assurance was given by New Zealand Rugby’s chief executive officer Steve Tew on Thursday.
It followed Tuesday’s announcement from the board of Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) that South Africa received the initial recommendation to host the tournament, based on the results of the scoring system employed.
South Africa scored 78.97%, while France's bid came second (75.88%) and Ireland’s third (72.25%).
The recommendation will now be put to the vote of the World Rugby Council in London on November 15.
All three candidates will appear on the ballot paper but World Rugby has stressed to its members that recommendation of the evaluation committee should be taken into consideration.
"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 New Zealand Herald.
Tew continued: "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.”