Anyone who has watched test rugby in South Africa, Ireland and France will vouch for the great times, raucous venues and terrific layers of life in all three countries.

They offer the great attraction of one country, one tournament as they continue to promote their bids to host the 2023 World Cup when the decision is made in the middle of next month.

South Africa held the best tournament for the first and only time back in 1995 as the country showed off its charms to follow the geographically fractured tournaments in 1987 and 1991.

France had bit parts in two events before hosting the 2007 tournament and is making the largest financial guarantees to World Rugby in the race to woo delegates.


En bloc, the Six Nations and Sanzaar would take out a winning 21 majority in the 39 votes which will be cast but that won't happen with all three contenders in that group.

France is promising a 350m ($649m) fee to World Rugby, South Africa 160m and Ireland 120m - figures which will have the WR bean counters pushing hard for the Tricolores investment to boost their gospel of spreading the game.

Ireland have had disjointed parts in several tournaments but have never been host and are mounting a high-level political and propaganda programme to convince uncertain voters 2023 should be their time.

If Guinness and conviviality were the markers, then Ireland would have stitched up the market at Paddy O'Gilligan's betting shop but WR doesn't work like that. The history of tournament voting is sprinkled with stories of varying veracity about how delegates have been wooed or cast their ballots.

Those tales are not in the same class as Fifa or the Olympics but they are as spicy as some of those about match officials.

South Africa have settled some uncertainty and combined their political forces to push for a second hosting role and almost 30 years after their sole hosting appearance, the time is right for another.

France have rather crassly used Jonah Lomu's connection to the Marseille club and his two young boys as part of their bid. Mind you, NZR ignored Lomu and his marketing clout for far too long until his 2011 RWC involvement.

FFR president Bernard Laporte is also facing conflict of interest allegations but that will be met with a Gallic shrug of the shoulders as they bump up the stakes for a second hosting job in 16 years.

Ireland are offering the least money-back guarantee to WR but the most venues with a dozen from Celtic Park in the north to Cork in the south-east of the Emerald Isle.

They've got Aviva Stadium or Lansdowne Road as Kiwis will remember it for the 1991 loss to the Wallabies and nearby Croke Park which squeezes more than 80,000 into its belching atmosphere.

Then there's the magnificent Thomond Park in Limerick, which is an amphitheatre of silence and support, depending on the state of the game.

If Ireland or France gain the 2023 nod, it will be the third successive tournament in the Northern Hemisphere - South Africa's strongest platform.

For me though, the choice is simple. Ireland should be chosen for a rich package of total rugby experience, their strong history in the game and sole host absenteeism of the three contenders at the sport's top table.