Ireland's hopes of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup move a step closer

France and South Africa have also passed the final checks before the selection process begins

Ireland's hopes of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup move a step closer

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The IRFU's bid to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup has cleared another hurdle as they achieve candidate status.

The sport's governing body, World Rugby has confirmed that the bids of Ireland, France and South Africa have all passed the final checks before the selection process begins.

The tournament hosts will be chosen next year.

The bidding nations had been reduced to three last week when Italy confirmed that they would be pulling out.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan TD, welcomed announcement that Ireland’s application to host the 2023 World Cup has now progressed to the candidate status phase.

The Ministers noted that the candidate phase of the process will commence on November 1st.

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

"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."