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World Rugby confirms trio of 2023 World Cup candidates, Argentina formalises 2027 bid

World Rugby has today (Tuesday) confirmed France, Ireland and South Africa as host candidates for its 2023 World Cup, as Argentina firmed up its proposed bid for the 2027 edition of rugby union’s showpiece national team tournament.

The bidding field for the 2023 World Cup was reduced in size last week after the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) withdrew its candidacy amid concerns over government support due to its bid being linked to Rome’s now uncertain tilt at the 2024 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

World Rugby today said each of the three remaining unions demonstrated within its application that it could meet key criteria critical to a viable World Cup hosting bid by the September 1 deadline. The applicant phase evaluation focused on key criteria such as finance, venues, tournament window and government support in line with World Rugby’s seven hosting objectives.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We are delighted by the strong level of serious interest from unions and governments, which is clearly reflected in three strong and impressive applications.

“I would like to congratulate the unions for successfully progressing to candidate status and we welcome further dialogue with all parties as momentum builds towards the selection of the Rugby World Cup 2023 host.”

The application phase was the second stage of a newly-introduced three-part host selection process following an initial education phase, designed to provide prospective bid unions and governments with all the information required to determine to proceed with a bid. The candidate process officially opens on November 1 and the 2023 World Cup host union will be selected by the World Rugby Council in November 2017.

Meanwhile, the Argentinian government has pushed forward with its bid for the 2027 World Cup. In a statement released yesterday (Monday), the government said Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri formally presented the bid to a high-level World Rugby delegation in attendance for the national team’s 36-17 defeat against New Zealand in a Rugby Championship game in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

In May, the Argentinian government said the country would bid for the 2027 Rugby World Cup in an effort to take the national team tournament to the Americas for the first time. Argentina has enjoyed a rising influence in rugby union and reached the semi-finals at two of the last three World Cups. The country was linked to a bid for the 2023 World Cup, but ultimately this did not materialise.

Following England’s hosting of last year’s tournament, the Rugby World Cup will travel to Japan in 2019.