Ireland’s chance of hosting Rugby World Cup gets a boost
Ireland chances of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup in 2023 have received a boost after the Italian Rugby Federation announced that they are pulling out of the running.
The Italian decision means that Ireland will now only face opposition from France and South Africa, who have both staged the tournament in the past. South Africa held it in 1995 and France in 2007.
A statement from World Rugby confirmed the decision: "World Rugby notes the decision by the Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR) today to withdraw from the Rugby World Cup 2023 host selection process.
"While it is disappointing that the FIR feels unable to proceed, World Rugby fully understands the decision and hopes to see Italy join the process for future Rugby World Cup hosting.
"The host selection process continues with three strong applications currently being evaluated by a World Rugby Technical Review Group. The outcomes of the evaluation will be independently assessed to ensure a fair and consistent approach. Applicants that meet the criteria outlined will move to the candidate phase on 1 November. The Rugby World Cup 2023 host will be selected in November 2017."
The Irish Rugby Football Union confirmed in 2014 they were putting together an all-Ireland bid to stage the tournament, revealing that their plans would be underpinned by the Northern Ireland Executive and Irish Government.
Chief executive Philip Browne said the IRFU and two Irish governments would expect to commit over €100million to underwrite the possibility of staging the event.