And then there were three.
Ireland, France and South Africa remain the candidates to showcase the 2023 Rugby World Cup as Italy have dropped out of the list of applicants.
The process officially opens on November 1 and the host union will be selected by the World Rugby Council in November of next year.
"I remain convinced that Ireland can mount a winning bid for what is one of the great occasions on the world sporting calendar," said Dick Spring, the Chairman of Ireland's RWC Bid Oversight Board
More imminently, it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify which two clubs will make it through to the PRO12 League's 'Destination Final' on May 27 at the Aviva Stadium.
There could be some indication on Saturday when second-placed Munster travel up to the national stadium to tackle Leinster, one point behind in third.
Munster have confirmed the signing of Waikato Chiefs hooker Rhys Marshall, 23, on a three-year deal, presumably with a view to a possible international future.
The Sharks prop Thomas du Toit, 21, will join on a three-month deal, subject to the granting of a work permit, to provide cover on both sides of the scrum.
UL-Bohemian scrum-half Cathal Sheridan is another to sign a short-term contract, having won the last of his 35 caps for Munster last May.
"In certain positions, we had to look at our short-term and long-term options in making sure we had adequate cover," said Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus.
"We are about to head into a fully loaded schedule across Europe and the PRO12 and needed to build on our depth in a few key areas so these short-term contracts will help in that regard."