Ireland, France and South Africa pitch for 2023 World Cup

Ireland, France and South Africa pitch for 2023 World Cup

Ireland, France and South Africa pitch for 2023 World Cup

"Ireland's commitment is underlined by the fact that Rugby World Cup 2023, from the turn of the decade, will be our sole focus in terms of a major global sporting event, ensuring no distractions for key host authorities and no competition for the attention of Irish Sports fans and sponsors", said Phillip Browne.

The Irish, who have never been the main host, are the bookmakers' favourite, ahead of South Africa, who hosted the tournament in 1995, with 2007 hosts France the outsider ahead of Monday's presentations in London.

Commenting on the bid Varadkar said, "We have the infrastructure, we have fabulous stadiums, we have the best fans".

Mr Varadkar was the only state leader attending in person in London as Ireland, France and South Africa presented their bids to stage the tournament yesterday. However, the late All-Black Jonah Lomu's sons Dhyreille and Brayley Lomu were part of France's proposal.

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Ramaphosa was in London where he added some gravitas to the country's world cup bid by addressing the Rugby World Cup Council while SA Rugby Union made the technical and commercial presentations. Whereas Leo Varadkar is willing to hitch himself to any potentially successful bid, French president Emmanuel Macron has refused to record a video in support of the bid, reneging on an original plan to do so.

"Our bid is fully backed by the government. So people can expect to be smothered with love", O'Driscoll said.

Ireland were able to allay organisers' concerns around the impact of Brexit, with a great deal of uncertainty still surrounding the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The first stop for Mr Varadkar is an upmarket hotel in Kensington, where the Ireland 2023 team has its final pitch for the tournament.

"I pointed out while there is plenty of uncertainty, one thing that is certain is that the common travel area will remain in place", the Taoiseach said.

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