Ireland and South Africa are battling the French to host the tournament
World Rugby are to announce what country will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, later this year.
Ireland, France and South Africa are the three contenders to host the event, with Ireland being the only country of the three not to previously be the host nation of the event. France held the tournament in 2007, with South Africa last hosted the event 12-years previously in 1995.
Having not hosted the event before, and despite relying on the GAA for the use of a number of stadia, Ireland are favourites to win the rights.
That news has finally hit home in France, with reports coming from the country that the French Rugby Federation are increasing their charm offensive on the World Rugby hierarchy.
French-based rugby journalist Gavin Mortimer has highlighted reports in Monday morning's Midi-Olympique that the bid team are intensifying their efforts as the final push for votes gathers pace.
Midi reports that the FFR are intensifying their efforts vis-a-vis France's 2023 RWC bid. Laporte apparently dined with Bill Beaumont in— gavin mortimer (@gavinmortimer7) January 16, 2017
Toulon at the w/e & a couple of big commercial partners have been secured. 19 French towns/cities are on the host long-list and this will— gavin mortimer (@gavinmortimer7) January 16, 2017
be whittled down to 12. At the heart of the bid will be Paris & "its attractiveness".— gavin mortimer (@gavinmortimer7) January 16, 2017
Hmm. Shall we discuss that at a latter date?
Ireland's bid is the only one so far to publish a list of stadia it plans to use. The French and South African stadia will undoubtedly have greater capacities, but they may be further spread out around the various countries.
Whatever happens in the coming months, the Irish bid team - led by former Tanaiste Dick Spring - will have their work cut out in the unique world of sporting politics.