Four nations will bid to host 2023 Rugby World Cup

France, Ireland, Italy and South Africa have been confirmed as the four nations that will bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

France and South Africa have already hosted the World Cup – in 2007 and 1995 – while Ireland and Italy are bidding to become host for the first time.

Ireland have hosted Rugby World Cup matches as part of a multination bid in the past but have never been the main host.

The four nations have all submitted formal expressions of interest before last month’s deadline but the United States, an emerging rugby union nation decided to focus their attention on the hosting of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens.

A decision on which country will stage the 2023 World Cup will be made in May 2017 after a tender deadline in June next year.

World Rugby predicts that the 2023 tournament will boost the hosting nation’s economy by as much as $2.6bn while tournament costs are modest. From 2003 to 2015 the tournament had cost the host nation between $45m and $155m compared to the expense of hosting an event such as the FIFA World Cup which, in 2014, cost $3.1bn.

“The candidate hosts now have a year to benefit from detailed knowledge-sharing and preparation, including digesting the detailed tender requirements and observing Rugby World Cup 2015 hosting, before the confirmation to tender deadline of June 2016,” said Rugby World Cup tournament director Alan Gilpin in a statement.

“The announcement of the Rugby World Cup 2023 host in May 2017 will also provide the successful union with six years to prepare for the delivery of the event and maximise the benefits of observing the delivery of Japan 2019, the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted in Asia.”

World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset added: “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.

“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,” the Frenchman said.

South African Rugby Union CEO Jurie Roux said that 20 years after they hosted the world cup in 1995 the hunger to host the tournament has grown.

“Last week the 1995 Springbok Rugby World Cup squad regathered to celebrate their momentous victory 20 years ago,” said Roux. “There was unprecedented media interest in the occasion and we were reminded what a profound effect the tournament had on this country and the enthusiasm with which this country opened its arms to rugby.

“That hunger has been sharpened over the years with a whole generation having grown up envying the experience of their parents. The South African Rugby Union would very much like to give them the opportunity to share our passion for rugby with the rest of the world, 28 years on from that famous day.”

The 2015 World Cup in England starts when hosts England face Fiji at Twickenham on September 18.

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