The final decision will be announced by World Rugby on 15 November, 2017.
The board made its recommendation following detailed consideration of the host candidate evaluation report.
The intensive selection process determined a financial model and the viability of each country to host the tournament, as well as ensuring sufficient revenues to continue the development of World Rugby.
"He represented the country very eloquently and I think he was received well by World Rugby".
South Africa's 2023 bid played heavily off the memories of '95, as well as its recent success in hosting the 2010 soccer World Cup, and its favorable exchange rate, which promises a cheaper World Cup experience for traveling fans than one in Europe.
The news will come as a shattering blow to the Irish, who were regarded as firm favourites to host the tournament for the first time. Ireland's bid was fronted by leading rugby names such as Brian O'Driscoll, while celebrities such as Bono of U2, Bob Geldof and actor Liam Neeson were all part of the official bid. The next World Cup, in 2019, will be in Japan.
A bid evaluation report will be released this morning and is expected to recommend that either Ireland, France or South Africa stage the tournament.
The candidate nations do not have a vote, but there are three each for the rest of the Six Nations and SANZAAR countries; England, Italy, Scotland, Wales, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
Those eligible to vote are: Australia (3 votes), England (3), New Zealand (3), Scotland (3), Wales (3), Italy (3), Argentina (3), Canada (1), Japan (2), Georgia (1), Romania (1), U.S. (1), Asia Rugby (2), Oceania Rugby (2), Rugby Africa (2), Rugby Americas North (2), Rugby Europe (2), South America Rugby (2). Any bid that crosses the 20-vote mark will be awarded the 2023 World Cup. However, World Rugby have been determined to produce a fairer and more transparent process, leading to a belief that the ballot should be a formality - in ratifying the auditors' recommendation.
Bill Beaumont, Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman and head of the sport's governing body World Rugby, said South Africa had emerged as clearly ahead in all seven key criteria such as stadia and financial assurances.
In a 220 page document the Rugby World Cup board state: 'The comprehensive and independently scrutinised evaulation re-affirmed that we have three exceptional bids but it also identified South Africa as a clear leader, based on performance against the key criteria'.