The four Unions tendering to host the 2015 or 2019 Rugby World Cup tournaments unveiled their bids to the IRB Council in Dublin on Wednesday.
Italy, Japan and South Africa are tendering to host either Rugby World Cup 2015 or 2019, while England is bidding for Rugby World Cup 2015.
The unprecedented tender response, a record for Rugby World Cup, reflects the global prestige of a tournament which is now regarded as the world’s third-largest sporting event.
The Union tender teams presented to the IRB Council in alphabetical order, each delivering a 30-minute presentation outlining their proposal to host a Rugby World Cup before answering questions from the floor.
Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The quality of the presentations this morning was extremely high with each tender Union outlining their bid to host a Rugby World Cup.
“We are delighted to have four countries of the calibre of England, Italy, Japan and South Africa bidding for the right to host a Rugby World Cup.
“The presentations mark the latest milestone in the detailed analysis of the tenders, including independent financial and commercial evaluation.
“The process culminates with the IRB Council selecting the host Unions for Rugby World Cup 2015 and Rugby World Cup 2019 at its Special Meeting of Council on July 28.”
Rugby World Cup 2007 in France was the most successful Rugby World Cup tournaments ever.
The 2007 event was broadcast to a global television audience of over 4 billion and generated a record net surplus of £122.4 million.
RWC 2007 enjoyed 2.2 million public ticket sales with an attendance rate of 97% for the matches in France, a full corporate sponsorship inventory and unprecedented corporate hospitality sales with over 100,000 packages sold (greater than the last two tournaments combined).
The generation of a significant surplus from the tournament is now allowing unprecedented investment in the game across all 116 member Unions.
The net surplus from the tournament funds the IRB’s major investment initiatives including the annual Union grants and the strategic investment programme that, in the years between RWC tournaments, targets specific development programmes to increase the competitiveness of the game.
In the next four years the IRB will invest over £150 million in the global game.
An independent Deloitte report identified the total economic benefits for the host nation as being up to £2.1 billion.
Major attractions for hosting the tournament also include promotion of the country, a rugby and sports legacy and a feel good factor.