World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has hailed the "strong level of serious interest" from the three nations competing to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Ireland, South Africa and France are in the running to host the showpiece, with the tournament expected to head back to Europe as the 2019 instalment is due to take place in Japan.
Initially, four nations were involved in the process, but the Italian Rugby Federation withdrew its bid last week when it became apparent there would be no government backing.
Nevertheless, Beaumont feels the remaining three have demonstrated that they are capable of matching World Rugby's criteria for the event, including key areas such as finance and venues.
"We are delighted by the strong level of serious interest from unions and governments, which is clearly reflected in three strong and impressive applications," Beaumont said via a World Rugby statement.
"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."
France hosted the World Cup as recently as 2007, while South Africa secured an emotional victory on home soil in 1995.