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The World Rugby Council has selected France to the host the 2023 Rugby World Cup following a secret ballot in London on Wednesday morning.

The European nation proved to be the strongest contender, beating both Ireland and South Africa in the race to host the sporting tournament.

South Africa had been named as the preferred choice by World Rugby's independent review, though the final decision was left to representatives from the council's member nations.

After securing just eight votes, Ireland's bid was eliminated in the first round.

France then went on to win 25 votes to South Africa's 15.

The result comes after both France and Ireland criticised World Rugby's decision to recommend South Africa, with  IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne going as far as to write a letter of complaint outlining his concerns about the process. 

According to The Irish Independent, World Rugby acknowledged the letter last week and said that "it had addressed in full, clarification requests by the Rugby World Cup 2023 host candidates and council members." 

Of course, Irish rugby fans are pretty disappointed about the whole situation, but hey, at least we've an excuse to take a holiday – and it's waaaay cheaper to fly to Paris than it is to Cape Town. 

Every cloud… 


It's already one of the most hotly-anticipated sporting events of the year, and the rugby world cup is now just two months away.

Taking place in England from September 18 to October 31, Ireland will be expected to perform well – emerging top of Pool D, a group which also boasts fellow Six Nations teams France and Italy.

And at least now we know what the boys in green will be wearing: Canterbury, which is making the jersey for the first time since 2007, officially unveiled its design this morning in Galway.

The jersey is simple and classic – and has a striking similarity to the England jersey (probably because they're both made by Canterbury).

There is also a white trim around the neck and no collar.

The Irish rugby team is currently ranked third in the world behind New Zealand and South Africa.

Our best result in a world cup is still the quarter finals stage; we've made it that far five times, most recently in 2011 when the tournament was held in New Zealand.


Is there love in the air? It certainly looks so for Rihanna, 27, and dashing French soccer player, Karim Benzema.

The pair were spotted yesterday in the Griffin nightclub in New York, and the duo afterwards went for a spot of late-night, post-clubbing grub (in Ireland, we call that 'the chipper').

Romance rumours have linked the Grammy Award winner and the 27-year-old Real Madrid player before.

Indeed, a year ago Rihanna tweeted at Karim saying, “I feel your pain right now,” when his national team drew with Ecuador in the World Cup. The soccer star promptly responded saying: “No pain no gain, thanks for the support.”

A source told E! News: “Rihanna and Karim were sitting across from each other,” adding that “they came separately and they were speaking French at some point”.

Wait, now she speaks French too? Yup, her talents are pretty much boundless at this stage. And while any romance has yet to be confirmed, with Ri-Ri’s busy schedule the union may not have the brightest future.

In a recent interview with V Magazine, the Diamonds singer explained just how hectic she really is: “The past two years are the hardest I’ve ever worked,” she said.

“I’ve been working on two albums, an animated film, shooting for multiple magazines, designing for Puma and Stance, a new line of fragrances, a summer tour, I launched my first annual Diamond Ball at the end of last year, and I’ve also been developing several projects to be revealed in the near future.”

Wow! If she has time for a summer romance on top of all that we will be seriously impressed. 


SHEmazing! TV is here to deliver your round-up of all the Showbiz News.

Today’s highlights include:

  • Rihanna goes topless at the World Cup
  • Paris Hilton viciously attacks Baywatch star
  • Actor dumped after he assaults taxi driver
  • X Factor Judge begins drug trial
  • Popstar calls horrific bully out

Niamh Geaney reports.



This is the stuff of dreams. When Belgian teen Axelle Despiegelaere showed up to support her country at the World Cup last month, we bet she didn’t expect to come away with it with a modelling contract.

Axelle was photographed cheering on her country’s team wearing a Viking style hat in her country’s colours and the snap went viral, as these things do, appearing in magazines all over the world. So, obviously Axelle set up a professional Facebook page as soon as she stepped foot on home soil.

It was here that she announced to her followers that she was offered a modelling contract for L’Oreal and obviously she said yes to it. The contract definitely must have taken away from the fact that Belgium lost against Russia in their match! Seems like the 17-year-old came away from the game with the best result.

We couldn’t imagine this ever happening to us at a Dublin game…






World Cup fever is in full swing, and even though Ireland may not playing we can still enjoy the eh, ‘visuals’ of the game.

Here are our top 10 World Cup players – judged totally on their athletic skill, of course.

Christiano Ronaldo – Portugal


Age: 29 Height: 6’1

Yes please.

Neymar – Brazil

File photo of Brazilian soccer player Neymar arriving for the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards in Rio de Janeiro

Age: 22 Height: 5’9

The man’s got style!

Claudio Marchisio – Italy


Age: 28 Height: 5’10

He’s working that sexy stare thing.

Mathew Ryan – Australia


Age: 22 Height: 6’0

You could definitely bring this fella home to your mammy.

Gerard Pique – Spain

Spain's national soccer player Pique smiles during an interview with Reuters media during the Euro 2012 soccer tournament in Gniewino

Age: 27 Height: 6’4

He just looks so happy!

Gabriel Achilier – Ecuador


Age: 29 Height 5’11

What a man, what a man, what a man, what a might good man!

Aleksandr Kerzhakov – Russia


Age: 31 Height: 5’9

We can’t say his last name, but we can say he’s lookin’ well!

Olivier Giroud – France


Age: 27 Height: 6’4

Ooh la la!

Joe Hart – England

joe hart

Age: 27 Height: 6’5

He looks VERY good in a suit!

 Javi Martínez – Spain


Age: 25 Height: 6’3

Look at that pout!



Whether you care about the FIFA World Cup or not, one thing is for sure the majority of us will be watching the star studded opening ceremony.

But it seemed uncertain yesterday on whether or not, the great J-Lo would still be performing in Brazil for the opening ceremony. Rumours began to spread that the star had pulled out, due to poor stage conditions.

But fear not J-Lo fans, as her rep. has now confirmed that the 44-year-old singer will be joining Pitbull and Claudia Leitte on Thursday.

The rep. revealed that Jennifer Lopez always wanted to perform at the World Cup Opening ceremony.

“We have been trying to work out scheduling and logistics. Any statements to the contrary were premature. Jennifer would not want to disappoint her fans or fans of (football). She will be there.”

This comes after statements were released by both FIFA and supposedly J-Lo’s own rep. that she wouldn’t be performing at the ceremony.

Either ways, we can’t wait to see what’s in store this Thursday!