The IRFU says plans to launch a joint bid to host the 2031 Rugby World Cup "are not being progressed" at this time.

In a statement to RTÉ Sport on Tuesday, Irish rugby's governing body revealed that exploratory talks had taken place last Autumn with the English, Welsh and Scottish unions but that, for the moment, it is not being taken further. 

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"The IRFU wish to clarify that while some preliminary exploratory discussions took place last Autumn with the English, Scottish and Welsh Unions about a possible joint bid to host Rugby World Cup 2031 the matter is not being progressed, at this point in time," they said.

It follows a statement from England's Rugby Football Union to The Guardian on Monday in which they said that "the four rugby unions of the UK and Ireland are considering the merits of a joint bid" for 2031.

World Rugby had opened the bid process for that tournament as well as the 2027 edition this week.

France will host the 2023 World Cup, having beaten the Irish and South African bids in the vote. 

Meanwhile, the French rugby union (FFR) has been given the go-ahead for Les Bleus to partake in the tournament by the French government. 

Following a briefing from the FFR and Six Nations, the French authorities are satisfied that improved Covid-19 protection measures are in place.

Fabien Galthie's side face Italy in Rome on Saturday.

Follow Wales v Ireland (kick-off 3pm) on Sunday via our live blog on RTE.ie and the News app or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1's Sunday's Sport. Highlights on Against the Head, Monday at 8.10pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.

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