<
>

Who should host the 2023 Rugby World Cup?

New Zealand players raised the trophy in 2015 after winning their second consecutive Rugby World Cup. Craig Mercer/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire

The three bidders for the 2023 Rugby World Cup have been confirmed -- Ireland, South Africa and France.

Now it's time to weigh up each prospective candidate, looking at the positives and potential drawbacks from their hopes to host rugby's biggest competition.

Ireland

Reasons in their favour:

Ireland's bid sees the country's more traditional rugby stadia combined with some of the land's top GAA arenas.

The likely make up would see the 51,700-capacity Aviva Stadium joined by Leinster's RDS, Munster's Thomond Park and Ulster's Ravenhill while GAA grounds like Killarney's Fitzgerald Stadium, Tipperary's Semple Stadium, Limerick's Gaelic Grounds, Antrim's Casement Park and Galway's Pearce Stadium could also form part of the bid. Their capacities way outnumber what was on offer back in 2011 in New Zealand.

The split in some of the GAA grounds between seated and standing would bring uniqueness to the bid. Kingsholm's Shed - a stand void of seats but the enclosed nature produces a wonderful atmosphere -- was one of the standout experiences of the previous World Cup.

Also working in Ireland's favour is the fact they've never hosted a World Cup, though they hosted five tournament matches in 1991 and seven in 1999. Thoughts of expansion within the sport normally focus on lands afar but Ireland would represent progress while tickets will be hot property.

Potential stumbling blocks:

While the mixture of seats and standing may be seen as a positive, for some of the larger arenas -- like Semple Stadium -- they may need added seating introduced while Fitzgerald Stadium is without floodlights. They are logistical hurdles but ones that can be overcome.

Like New Zealand in 2011, the availability of accommodation outside of Dublin may also cause difficulties with tens of thousands of fans expected to attend these quadrennial bonanzas.

South Africa

Reasons in their favour:

Having hosted the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the country is perfectly placed to host the sport's biggest tournament. The memories of 1995 live long in the memory while the World Cup delivered.

If held in its current traditional slot, the tournament will take place in the spring-summer transition so the weather should be perfectly suited to expansive, thrilling rugby.

The country boasts 14 stadiums with capacity over 40,000 and is a rugby-loving place. Accommodation-wise, the cities will be able to house all travelling fans with ease.

Potential stumbling blocks:

While the England bid for 2015 managed to convince World Rugby it was the right option despite having hosted the 1991 incarnation, South Africa will need to do the same to the powers that be.

Expanding the game and taking the sport's flagship tournament to countries yet to host a World Cup appears to be high up on the organising body's agenda so they may struggle there.

The tournament bid is yet to have buy-in from the South African government. Their sports minister Fikile Mbalula said in April he would only allow the various sporting bodies to bid for tournaments if they meet certain transformation levels.

Despite this, SARU is confident it will meet those goals. "We have submitted an application as per World Rugby's deadline," a SARU spokesperson told ESPN.

"However, whether we will be permitted to pursue the process depends on whether we have met the targets we have agreed with the Government. The Eminent Person' Group reports back in March next year when we will know whether we will be able to continue."

France

Reasons in their favour:

Like South Africa, France have recently hosted a World Cup having put on the 2007 tournament. Bar the last-minute transport strikes, the tournament was deemed a success.

Euro 2016 saw a number of their stadia rebuilt or revamped so they have ample grounds which can host the tournament.

The Japan World Cup in 2019 should perform well but given it is a new territory for the tournament, the organisers may want a guaranteed revenue-returner in 2023. France fits this bill and could even exceed the money generated from 2015.

Potential stumbling blocks:

Would World Rugby want to give the World Cup to a place that hosted it in 2007? It could provoke discontent from those looking to break into rugby's top table and would be seen as a conservative call.