Four contenders to host 2023 Rugby World Cup

Ireland's bid will go up against France, Italy and South Africa after the USA opted to focus on the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens

Launch of the bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup
Ireland launched their 2023 Rugby World Cup bid in December 2014 Photo: Kevin Boyes/Press Eye

World Rugby has confirmed that four countries are in the running to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Ireland, France, Italy and South Africa all submitted their formal expressions of interest to the sport’s governing body before last month’s deadline.

But despite their earlier interest, the USA decided to focus on hosting the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco.

Rugby World Cup is our flagship event, and must continue to inspire, to reach out and attract new participants and audiences.

Bernard Lapasset

South Africa last hosted the Rugby World Cup in 1995, when the hosts emerged victorious, while France were the main hosts of the 2007 iteration, which was also won by the Springboks.

Like France, Ireland also hosted part of the second running of the event in 1991, along with the rest of the Five Nations countries.

Italy are the only country in the running not to have held the event and they – and South Africa – were unsuccessful in their bid to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup with World Rugby opting to take the event to Japan.

In a statement, World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset alluded to the tournament attracting new audiences, as seen by the awarding of major tournaments to Japan and the USA.

“Rugby World Cup is our flagship event, and must continue to inspire, to reach out and attract new participants and audiences while delivering the financial platform for rugby to continue its record growth,” Lapasset said.

“Hosting should be a true partnership and incentivise and excite host countries, and we are currently undertaking an extensive review of the hosting model to strengthen the partnership between host and owner and further the benefits for all as we enter an exciting new era for our sport.

World Rugby will announce the hosts of the 2023 World Cup in May 2017 after a tender deadline in June 2016.

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