Three champions of Irish rugby have been granted citizenship at a special ceremony in Dublin city centre.

Joe Schmidt described it as "fantastic" to be able to bring the Irish Rugby Team "across the water" to compete in the World Cup in the coming weeks, and to do so on an Irish passport.

Born in New Zealand, the Ireland head coach said that he felt a little bit more Irish after the ceremony.

He added that he and his family felt quite Irish anyway, and remembered a time when he didn't understand his son's accent when he pronounced "RDS".

The only thing he was unhappy about was the photo on his new citizenship certificate. He joked: "It looks like it was taken after we didn't win on Saturday".

South African born Hooker Richardt Strauss was also made an Irish citizen today.

He is part of the Irish Squad competing in the World Cup which begins in a little over two weeks time.

Mr Strauss said he was delighted to be an official Irish citizen but added that putting on the Ireland jersey was always something special for him.

He said: "From day one that I got the opportunity to do it I was very proud,".

IRFU Participation Rugby Manager Olly Hodges moved from Sydney to his wife Emer's home city of Limerick in 2002.

 He is currently involved in Ireland's bid for the Rugby World Cup 2023.

"I suppose my accent still needs a little bit of work" he joked after the ceremony, adding that it was great to be finally recognised as a citizen of Ireland.