Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar has said the Government will tomorrow consider launching a bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Ireland has been considering a potential bid for over a year, looking to replicate the successful hosting by similarly populated New Zealand in 2011.

The plan would be to play games on both sides of the border.

Mr Varadkar said he will seek approval from Cabinet colleagues tomorrow.

"I think Ireland is very well placed to host the Rugby World Cup," the minister told reporters at an International Rugby Board conference.

He said the response from TDs and Government colleagues has been "hugely enthusiastic".

"The next step for me is to go to Cabinet tomorrow and to seek authorisation with a view to putting together the bid." 

"This is probably the biggest thing we can stage as a sporting nation," he added.

He said that rugby was a unifying sport, even during the very difficult times of the Troubles.

South Africa, hosts of the hugely symbolic 1995 Rugby World Cup and 2010 Soccer World Cup, has indicated that it plans to make a bid. 

France, which staged the event as recently as 2007, has also expressed an interest in the 2023 competition.

Event 'could boost economy by €800m'

Mr Varadkar said the support of the GAA has been crucial.

Alongside Croke Park, there are another ten gaelic grounds as big or bigger than the second-largest rugby stadium in the country, Thomond Park.

However, many would require major renovation to stage an international tournament.

The minister said hosting the Rugby World Cup could potentially boost the economy by as much as €800m with hundreds of thousands of fans coming to the country.

The tournament will be hosted by England in 2015 and Japan in 2019, the first time the competition will be staged outside either Europe or the southern hemisphere powerhouses of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
"We see this is as having great potential for Ireland as an island and for the sport itself," said Irish Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Philip Browne.