Mar 23, 2018 Last Updated 8:42 AM, Mar 22, 2018


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France will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup after beating rival bids from South Africa and Ireland.

South Africa had been expected to win the vote after an independent review recommended they stage the tournament.

However, at a World Rugby Council meeting in London on Wednesday, France was chosen to hold the 10th event.

France - the main host of the competition in 2007 - won in the second round of voting, with 24 votes compared to 15 for South Africa.

Ireland, which staged matches in 1991 and 1999, was eliminated after getting eight of the 39 votes in the first round - France picked up 18 and South Africa 13.

South Africa hosted the World Cup in 1995, when the Springboks beat New Zealand 15-12 in the final.

England backed the Irish bid but Wales supported South Africa and Scotland went with France. The head of the Irish Rugby Union Philip Browne said he was "very disappointed" with that.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont described the selection process as the "most transparent and comprehensive" in the organisation's history.

"I am delighted for France. They have run a World Cup before and I think it will be an exciting World Cup," he said

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

Last month, South Africa had ranked highest in the independent review after the three bids were judged on five categories...

  • vision and hosting concept
  • tournament organisation and schedule
  • venues and host cities
  • tournament infrastructure
  • finance, commercial and commitments

From the above criteria, South Africa scored 78.97%, France was second with 75.88% and Ireland was third with 72.25% - but members of the World Rugby Council voted to select France.

Bernard Laporte, president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), had criticised the original report, saying it contained a "certain amount of incompetence" and was "laughable".

"We are not rated as well over doping because they tell us we are too strict," Laporte told AFP in an interview last week.

"On security, we have the same number of points even though there are 52 murders a day in South Africa - it's crazy."

After the decision to award France the 2023 World Cup, Laporte said: "This World Cup is for all of French rugby. The economic impact will be for them. With the reforms that we have committed, we needed this World Cup."

France President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: "We will again host the Rugby World Cup in 2023. Wonderful news for rugby, for sport and for France."

The mother of a five-year-old South African boy who died after falling into a pit latrine at school has broken down in court as she described finding his body.

Michael Komape's mother Rosina took the witness stand on the first day of a civil lawsuit.

She and her husband James are suing the Minister of Basic Education after their son drowned.

The Department of Basic Education denies responsibility for his death.

Michael was a pupil at the Mahlodumela Primary School in the northern Limpopo province. He had gone to the toilet on 20 January 2014 when he disappeared.

Mrs Komape told the court that the head teacher called her and said her son was missing. She said a child in the same class told her he had fallen into the toilet.

Michael's mother said that she "could see his whole arm but could not see the rest of his body" and says she fainted after that. A reporter for South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper said Mrs Komape told the court that the incident had left her and her family traumatised.

Mrs Komape says she lost her job as a direct result of the trauma she suffered because of her son's death.

The Komape family originally filed the lawsuit in 2015‚ but delays mean the case is only just being heard in the Polokwane High Court.

Michael's parents are also suing the Limpopo education ministry and the school principal, arguing they acted negligently or in violation of learners' constitutional right to a basic education.

The Komapes say the toilets were dilapidated and therefore not fit for human use.

They are are seeking just over three million rand ($210,000; £160,000) for trauma, grief, medical expenses, funeral costs and lack of earnings.

In court documents, the defendants deny that Michael's death was a result of any negligent or unconstitutional conduct on their parts. They say it was an accident.

The government has been criticised for its reaction to the case.

Just three months after the incident in 2014, former Limpopo Education chief Dikeledi Magadzi told local broadcaster ENCA "I am not the MEC [Member of Executive Council] of toilets... I am not God". The clip has now gone viral.

Michael's death caused outrage in South Africa, and drew attention to poor sanitation conditions in rural schools.

The case is scheduled to last three weeks.

Experienced goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune looks set to miss South Africa's two vital 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Senegal due to an injury.

The 30-year-old broke the bone around his right eye as his Kaizer Chiefs side beat Chippa United 1-0 on Saturday.

Khune was taken to hospital and a scan revealed what the club medical staff called an "optical fracture'.

South Africa need to beat Senegal at home on Friday and again away four days later to qualify for the World Cup.

He will see an eye specialist on Monday to determine whether he needs surgery but is out for between a month and six weeks, Chiefs' physiotherapist David Milner told BBC Sport.

Chippa United's Kurt Lentjies could not check his follow through as he challenged for a ball which Khune had taken out of the air and hit the goalkeeper square in the face in the last minute of the quarter-final of South Africa's League Cup.

Senegal realistically need just a draw on Friday to go through but a win would definitely confirm their participation in Russia next June.

The game in Polokwane is being replayed after the result of South Africa's 2-1 win over Senegal at the same venue last November was found to have been manipulated by Ghana referee Joseph Lamptey and Fifa ordered a replay.

South Africa had been in strong contention before their double-header against the Cape Verde Islands in September which Khune missed because of illness.

Replacement Ronwen Williams, 25, turned in a jittery performance and gave up two goals in the match in Praia which South Africa lost 2-1.

He was replaced by veteran Wayne Sandilands, 34, for the return game against the islanders in Durban.

However he was beaten by two long range effort by Garry Rodrigues as Cape Verde snatched an upset win and beat South Africa for a second time in a matter of days and dealt a major blow to Bafana Bafana's hopes.

Khune returned to the line-up for last month's qualifier against Burkina Faso with his presence in goal engendered the necessary confidence and seeing South Africa to a comfortable 3-1 victory in Johannesburg.

A veteran of 84 appearances - the third most by any South African international - Khune has been in a rich vein of form in the last weeks, winning the award as the South African Premier Soccer League's player of the month for August and September.

South Africa's football boss Danny Jordaan, 66, has broken his silence to deny raping singer and ex-MP Jennifer Ferguson nearly 24 years ago.

Mr Jordaan rejected Mrs Ferguson's offer of mediation, saying the accusations must be dealt with in a court of law, his lawyer said.

Ms Ferguson alleges Mr Jordaan "overpowered" her and raped her in a hotel in Port Elizabeth city in 1994.

She said she was inspired to speak out by the #MeToo campaign on social media.

Ms Ferguson said the attack took place when she was "high and happy" following her unexpected nomination by Nelson Mandela's African National Congress (ANC) party to serve in South Africa's first democratically elected parliament in 1994.

Now living in Sweden with her husband, Ms Ferguson said she wanted prominent South African cleric Paul Verryn to broker "mediation" between her and Mr Jordaan to achieve "restorative justice".

Mr Jordaan, however, rejected mediation, as it could be perceived as a "cover-up" with "one law for the powerful and another for the masses", his lawyer, Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, said in a statement, adding her client had not commented up to now because of his "empathy with victims of gender-based violence".

Mr Jordaan, she continued, was innocent, and believed that the singer's allegations could "only be ventilated in a court of law, where the rights of all parties are protected".

In response, Ms Ferguson said she was "preparing for a course of action, the nature of which I will be disclosing in the near future".

She says she has spoken to two other women with similar allegations against Mr Jordaan since first publishing her account on her blog.

Ms Ferguson alleged that Mr Jordaan came to her hotel suite after she had given a performance at a dinner.

"He overpowered me and painfully raped me. It must have been over in about 20 seconds although it felt like a lifetime," she said. "He left immediately without saying a word."

Mr Jordaan, a prominent member of the ANC and president of the South African Football Association, was widely praised for spearheading South Africa's 2010 World Cup bid. It was the first time that the football tournament was played in Africa.

In 2015, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alleged that South Africa had paid a $10m (£6.5m) bribe to host the tournament. Mr Jordaan and the government strongly denied the allegation.

Mr Jordaan was mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, which includes Port Elizabeth, until 2016, when the opposition took control of it in elections.

Ms Ferguson campaigned against military conscription during white-minority rule in South Africa.

State radio banned her songs, including Letters For Dickie, sung in the form of letters from a girl to her boyfriend who was a conscripted soldier on the border.

Russia has signed a deal to build two nuclear power plants in Nigeria, as Africa's largest economy seeks to end its energy crisis.

Russian state-owned company Rosatom will build one in the south, the other in the centre, sources at the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission told the BBC.

The deal's exact worth is unknown, although some reports suggest it is likely in the region of $20bn (£15bn).

It is one of a number that Rosatom has been eyeing on the continent.

The company is also involved in discussions in Ghana and South Africa.

An initial agreement with the latter to build a plant was ruled unlawful in a South African court earlier this year.

The deal in Nigeria was reached after a long period of negotiation, with the two countries signing their first intergovernmental nuclear co-operation agreement in 2009.

Nigeria hopes the plants, which will initially be operated by Rosatom before they are handed over, will help deal with the country's energy deficit.

According to World Bank figures, more than 40% of the country was without mains electricity in 2014.

Nigeria is one of Africa's largest oil producers, but much of its oil wealth has been squandered over the years.

Corruption at all levels has left the country out of pocket, and producing a fraction of the energy its 180 million citizens need.

Construction of the new power plants is expected to begin in the next two years.

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