The race to host the 2023 World Cup will be contested by Ireland, France and South Africa.
World Rugby have confirmed that all three nations have demonstrated their ability to meet key criteria such as finance and venues in their applications to stage the tournament.
Italy had also begun the bidding process only to pull out last week when it emerged they would not be given government support. “We are delighted by the strong level of serious interest from unions and governments, which is clearly reflected in three strong and impressive applications,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said.
“I would like to congratulate the unions for successfully progressing to candidate status and we welcome further dialogue with all parties as momentum builds towards the selection for the host.”
The third and final phase of the host selection process begins on 1 November with the winner to be chosen a year later.