France beating South Africa into second place in the bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup represented the worst possible outcome for the Irish team bid team as it means that the competition is likely to head south in 2027. 

Brian O'Driscoll, a member of the Irish bid team, was generally downbeat afterwards but did talk hopefully about learning from the process to table another bid in "four, eight or twelve years".

However, IRFU chief executive Philip Browne refused to offer that carrot and insisted it was too soon to discuss future bids. 

With a slew of countries queuing up to table bids for future World Cups, there is a gnawing sense that Ireland may have missed its chance. 

The French success means that the Rugby World Cup will have remained north of the equator for three tournaments running by 2023 and it is close to inconceivable that it wouldn't take a jaunt south for 2027.

In particular, South Africa will feel they are due the competition, having won the technical recommendation this time around before being refused for a fourth successive occasion. 

Righteous fury is already pouring forth from the scions of South African rugby at the voters' decision to ignore the recommendation of the technical report. Joel Stransky, the out-half who kicked them to victory in the 1995 World Cup final, has said the result confirms to him that rugby remains "an old boys club." 

Should they dust themselves and bid for a fifth successive time, one would imagine that the moral pressure to award them the competition in 2027 will be hard to resist.  

Looking beyond 2027, we can expect that the USA and Italy will table serious bids. Figures involved in US rugby are already talking up the possibility of a 2027 bid. 

Former USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville, who has since moved back to England to work for the RFU, first floated the proposal of a 2027 bid back in 2015. 

Should the 2027 event return to the southern hemisphere, as geographical and political logic suggests it should, then the US are unlikely to slink away and shelve their ambitions for the forseeable.

World Rugby would naturally be highly enthused by the possibility of cracking into the US market and a USA World Cup would be regarded in a similar light to the Japanese Rugby World Cup which is coming down the tracks in two years time. 

The victorious French bid team after the result

That rugby remains a puny sport in America would not be regarded as so great a problem. The USA had no recent history of playing in a soccer World Cup when it was awarded the tournament by FIFA in the late eighties. 

Where does it leave Ireland?

Sunday Times correspondent Stephen Jones wrote ten days ago that not only would Ireland not get the World Cup this time around, it would never get it ever. 

The article, it must be acknowledged, also suggested that South Africa were certainties to win the bid and that France, as well as Ireland, would be well advised to save their energy rather than continue lobbying. The French are at this moment toasting their decision not to heed any such advice. 

However, his central point in the article is worth pondering. Namely, that from now on, the Rugby World Cup will be the preserve of powerful rugby nations with big economies, or else big countries where rugby is "on the launchpad".   

Essentially, Ireland is simultaneously too small a country but too big a rugby country for World Rugby to think it worthwhile to bring the World Cup there.

An Irish World Cup can provide neither the required financial dividend nor the potential for the expansion of the game. 

The Irish bid recognised the importance of both these factors and attempted to compensate for the latter with its talk of opening up the game to the American market by harnessing the diaspora - talk which the technical report found intriguing but vague.  

Should America seek a World Cup, our woolly talk about tapping into the US diaspora will not be able to compete with a World Cup that actually takes place on US soil. 

Ultimately, the larger the tournament grows, the less feasible it is that a country the size of Ireland will be deemed to have the facilities necessary to host it. 

Above all, the competition's importance as a cash cow is simply too great for World Rugby to offer it to a country which won't optimise revenue for the game. 

If Ireland upgrades its stadium stock and beefs up its technological infrastructure and engages in some clever politicking, then World Rugby may eventually decide we are due to spin at hosting their showpiece tournament. 

But after the failure of the 2023 bid, that possibility appears a very distant one.