Ireland looks set to confirm a bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup this week, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar has revealed.
The IRFU and the Irish government has been mulling a potential bid for over a year, looking to replicate the successful hosting by similarly populated New Zealand in 2011, and Mr Varadkar said he will seek approval from cabinet colleagues on Tuesday.
"I think Ireland is very well placed to host the rugby World Cup," Mr Varadkar told reporters at an International Rugby Board conference.
"The next step for me is to go to cabinet tomorrow and to seek authorisation with a view to putting together the bid."
Mr Varadkar added: "It's probably the biggest event a country like Ireland could do, we're too small for the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup and for that reason it would engender enormous national pride."
"It's probably the biggest event a country like Ireland could do" - Leo Varadkar
"The second thing is that even during the very difficult times of the Troubles, rugby in Ireland was a unifying sport.
"For us in Ireland, it would just be a symbol of how far we've come from the bad times to the better times now."
A study from consultants Deloitte has boosted the prospect of a bid, claiming that it would be "realistic" to have a cross-border bid and that it could deliver a potential €800 million boost to the economy.
Irish Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Philip Browne said: "We see this is as having great potential for Ireland as an island and for the sport itself."
The deadline for bids is not until 2016 with a decision being made in 2017.