Despite coming second to South Africa in an evaluation report, France has won the right to host the 2023 World Cup.
This was much to the dismay of South Africa as SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said: "We did everything in our power to bring the tournament to South Africa and we expected to have that right confirmed today.
"We are bitterly disappointed at this decision and would like to apologise to the people and government of South Africa for raising their hopes."
CEO of SA Rugby, Jurie Roux mentioned: "In the feedback sessions I am sure we will be recommending to the World Rugby Council that the verdict of the evaluation committee become binding.
"World Rugby ran an exhaustive and transparent process for 15 months to identify the best host nation, only for the process to go entirely opaque for the past two weeks.
"I think we can tell who voted for us and who did not," he said.
"We are not vindictive and we agreed to this process.
"You stick to the process. If you don't do that you don't belong sitting round the table."
He also admitted that losing out would cost the country, saying: "When you host the RWC there is a brilliant platform that creates enough revenues that stems the outflow of players and acts as a barrier against the euro and yen.
"We now have to face in a different way but luckily we do have the British and Irish Lions tour (2021) so hopefully that will create new revenues and platforms."
According to AFP, Irish Rugby Football Union chief executive Philip Browne said the outcome of the vote exposed the report's flaws, telling reporters: "Look at the raw facts, one third of the votes were in favour of the recommendation -- that speaks for itself."
Roux and South Africa deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa were adamant they would bid again.
"We live to fight another round and we will most certainly put in a bid for next time (2027)," said Ramaphosa.
Joel Stransky, whose drop goal won the 1995 Rugby World Cup, expressed his disappointment and surprise, telling SuperSport: "What is the point in having an independent evaluation process when its winners (South Africa) end up as losers?
"One can but imagine the lobbying that goes on behind the scenes -- an old boys' club is still making decisions at World Rugby."
The decision was announced by World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and means that this will be the second time France hosts a World Cup.
To be chosen, the successful bidder needed a majority of 20 out of the 39 remaining votes where France, Ireland and South Africa were barred from participating in the ballot.
The first round concluded with France on 18 votes, South Africa on 13 and Ireland on 8. As Ireland fell out, France beat South Africa by 24 votes to 15 in the second round.
AFP adds that this 2023 tournament will be the 10th Rugby World Cup and coincides with the 200th anniversary of the sport when William Webb Ellis picked up a ball and ran with it at Rugby School in England.
This will follow the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.