TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has joined Rugby Canada in throwing support behind Ireland's bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
"Here's hoping the luck of the Irish is on your side! #Ireland2023 #RWC2023," Trudeau tweeted Thursday to Irish PM Leo Varadkar.
Ireland is up against France and South Africa to host rugby's showcase tournament in 2023. The winning bid will be decided by via a Nov. 15 vote after an Oct. 31 recommendation from the World Cup board.
All three candidates presented their bids Monday in London. The Irish bid, which has the backing of British PM Theresa May, included video messages from musicians Bob Geldof and Bono.
Tim Powers, chair of Rugby Canada's board of directors, says Ireland has been an excellent partner to Canadian rugby.
"They have offered us good development opportunities and all important test matches. They have also been advocates for us in boardrooms," he said in an email to The Canadian Press.
And unlike France and South Africa, Ireland has never hosted the event.
Powers says the Irish bid is also historic in that it features both Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Rugby Canada publicly supported Ireland's bid to host the tournament after last November's men's test match between Canada and Ireland at in Dublin.
The sport's governing body in Canada says it has not yet considered a hosting bid itself. But Powers says there is an appetite for the tournament in North America in the future.
The next two openings are 2027 and 2031, with a six-year lead time for both.
The 2019 World Cup is slated for Japan.
Hosting is not cheap. World Rugby reportedly set a minimum of 120 million pounds (C$200 million) in fees to host the 2023 event.
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