The International Rugby Board has confirmed that four Unions will bid to host either Rugby World Cup 2015 or 2019.
England, Italy, Japan and South Africa have formally submitted detailed tenders for Rugby World Cup 2015, while all with the exception of England have confirmed their intention to bid for the 2019 tournament. The deadline for tender submissions to the IRB at its Dublin headquarters was 5pm (UK time) on May 8.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "We are delighted to have countries of the calibre of England, Italy, Japan and South Africa bidding for the right to host a Rugby World Cup. The unprecedented response, a record for Rugby World Cup, reflects the growing global prestige of a tournament that is established as the world's third-largest sporting event."
"The economic benefits to the host country are significant. An independent Deloitte report indentified the total economic benefits as being up to £2.1 billion for the host nation, while the promotion of the country, the Rugby and sports legacy and the feel good factor are also major attractions for hosting Rugby World Cup."
The France 2007 Organising Committee achieved a £70 million tournament surplus and created £15 million profit for investment in the Game in France," added Lapasset.
The next phase of the tender process will see each of the Unions outline their bids in a 30 minute presentation to the IRB Council in Dublin on May 13.
The presentations will kick start detailed analysis of the tenders, including independent financial and commercial evaluation, before the IRB announces the Host Unions for Rugby World Cup 2015 and Rugby World Cup 2019 on July 28.
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