• Italy pull plug on RWC bid

    The Italian Rugby Federation has announced they are withdrawing their bid to host the 2023 World Cup.

    Italy, Ireland, France and South Africa all submitted applications to host the showpiece, but Italian rugby bosses on Wednesday confirmed the cancellation of their bid submission, which was closely linked to the country's failed bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

    'Our candidature has always been strictly connected to the Olympic Games bid for Rome 2024 and, as agreed with the government and the Olympic committee, we are unable to provide the necessary commitments for us to move forward,' FIR president Alfredo Gavazzi said.

    'We remain convinced of the strength of our bid and are well aware of the benefits that hosting the Rugby World Cup would have brought to Italy,' he added. 'We're conscious about losing a fantastic chance to promote our values and our sport in our country, but we must sadly accept that today we can no longer move forward with our bid.'

    In a statement, World Rugby said: 'While it is disappointing that the FIR feels unable to proceed, World Rugby fully understands the decision and hopes to see Italy join the process for future World Cup hosting.'

    The other countries' applications are currently before a technical review group and if they meet the group's criteria, the applicants will move into a 'candidate phase', World Rugby said. The host nation will be selected in November 2017.

    Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

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    Mariette Adams