The Ireland 2023 bid team have reiterated their belief they are still competing to host the Rugby World Cup and have said the technical report that put the Irish proposal in last place has been met an initial response of "surprise".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had earlier rebutted any suggestion that Ireland should step aside from the Rugby World Cup 2023 process ahead of the vote by the Council of World Rugby on15 November.

The Taoiseach’s comments were in response to suggestions from South Africa Rugby’s CEO Jurie Roux.

Chairman of Ireland 2023 Bid Oversight Board, Dick Spring, reacted strong to Roux's suggestion: "While it is not surprising to hear such innuendo, it is totally inappropriate.

"There is in place a democratic process, whereby the council members of World Rugby, through their vote, are the ultimate arbitrators of who will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. To undermine this process in any way does a disservice to the entire structure.

"The recent evaluation report has stated categorically that 'any of the three candidates could host a successful World Cup'.

"We continue to believe, as the report has confirmed and many others across the World Rugby firmament believe, that Ireland, as a new host, offers the best option for the tournament in 2023, truly a 'Tournament Like No Other'.

"Ireland is now in dialogue with its many friends throughout world rugby and their initial response to us has been one of surprise at the evaluation report and its findings.

"As we have previously stated Ireland's team will compete to the final whistle as we bid to turn our historic bid plans into reality."

The winning bid will need a total on 20 votes from an available 39 and should Ireland be able to persuade their European neighbours England, Wales, Scotland and Italy to vote for them, that would be 12 votes off the bat for them.

Six Nations and SANZAR Unions not bidding (three votes each)

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • England
  • Italy 
  • New Zealand
  • Scotland
  • Wales

Regional associations and Japan (two votes each)

  • Africa
  • Americas North
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Japan
  • Oceania
  • South America

Individual unions (one vote each)

  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Romania
  • USA

The winning bid needs 20 votes from an available 39.