Ireland, France, Italy and South Africa have been confirmed as the four nations in the mix to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The four unions aiming to host rugby's showpiece event submitted their bid applications ahead of Thursday's deadline, World Rugby has confirmed.

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.

The confirmation of the country chosen to host will be announced by the World Rugby Council in November 2017.


South Africa Rugby are seeking to host the event despite a government ban on them staging international events since early this year, after failing to meet two of 13 racial transformation targets.

Despite government opposition, the rugby powers hope that when the next report on transformation is released they will meet all targets and be eligible to host the World Cup

"We are confident that the suspension will be lifted" said SAR chief executive Jurie Roux.

All teams will hope to fare better than previous hosts England if they get the nod.

In last year's World Cup Stuart Lancaster failed to make it out of the group stage, suffering defeats to Australia and Wales.

Ireland have never exclusively hosted a World Cup before but were part of the successful British bid in 1991.

South Africa famously won their own tournament in 1995 and France hosted more recently in 2007.

- With Daily Mail