A WORKING group has been set up by governments on both sides of the border to lay the groundwork for a potential all-Ireland bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Ministers from Belfast and Dublin met in Armagh to discuss a likely joint pitch.
Tourism and sports ministers Leo Varadkar and Michael Ring held talks with Stormont sports minister Caral Ni Chuilin and tourism minister Arlene Foster.
Their agreed working group will report back to both governments in a few months.
Ministers will then consider how to move forward to submit a formal application.
Mr Varadkar said that Ireland had what it took to stage a successful World Cup.
"It was a very useful meeting and we have now agreed to set up a working group to draw up the roadmap for our bid. It's still very early days, but the four of us believe that Ireland has what it takes to host a cracking World Cup," he added.
Minister Ring said that the Rugby World Cup was potentially the biggest sporting spectacular Ireland could stage.
"An event of this scale will not only have a great benefit for rugby, but will also raise the profile of what sport can do for the country," he stated.
"Sport is a great unifier, it brings people together and large events like this can also bring about a great sense of pride."
But Minister Ni Chuilin warned that a lot of work was required to get to that position.
"While we would have world-class venues to host the Rugby World Cup, there is a lot of work required to get us into a position to make a successful bid," she said.