Ireland bid to host the 2023 World Cup alongside France, Italy and South Africa
Ireland have bid to host the 2023 World Cup alongside France, Italy and South Africa.
The four unions involved submitted their bid applications ahead of Thursday's deadline, World Rugby has confirmed. Ireland, along with their three bid rivals, completed their bid questionnaire, outlining detailed information regarding key criteria for hosting the event.
A statement from World Rugby read: " The process to identify the host of one of the world's biggest sporting events kicked off last year and now moves to a key information-gathering stage on the road to confirmation of the host union by the World Rugby Council in November 2017."
Of the four nations hoping to stage the tournament in seven years time, only Ireland and Italy have never previously been hosts. South Africa held it in 1995 and France in 2007.
Applicants that meet the criteria for evaluation will move to the candidate phase on November 1 before the successful bid is announced in November 2017.
The applicant submissions are to be evaluated by a World Rugby technical review group and the outcome of the evaluation will then be independently assessed to ensure a fair and consistent approach.
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 £100million to underwrite the possibility of staging the event.
"We are delighted by the strong level of serious interest from unions and governments, which truly underscores the enormous hosting appeal of Rugby World Cup as a low-investment, low-risk, high-return economic, social and sporting driver," World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said.
"Great events are built on strong partnerships and this process represents a major milestone in the planning and preparation phase for unions and supporting government agencies who intend to bid for Rugby World Cup 2023.
"We welcome further dialogue with all parties as the process progresses to the candidate phase and we continue the process to confirm our next host."