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Ireland joins the scrum in bid to stage 2023 Rugby World Cup

By Michelle Smyth

The Rugby World Cup could be coming to Ireland in 2023.

It was announced by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) yesterday that an all-Ireland bid was being made to host the event. For the past 10 months politicians from the north and south of Ireland have been in discussions about whether an official bid should be submitted. Both the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish government are backing the bid.

First Minister Peter Robinson said he had "no doubt this will be a resounding success, both on and off the field".

"I fully support this bid to bring an elite international sporting event to the home of one of the powerhouses of world rugby," he said.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said "the potential audience" for such an event was huge and that it would reap major economic benefits.

"This would involve teams coming to Ireland weeks in advance for training camps, providing a major boost to the tourism industry and that's before the supporters from across the world descend," he said.

Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said: "Ireland has a lot to offer the global rugby family and there would be a lot of benefits to be gained by hosting such a prestigious event."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny declared Ireland will put together a "winning bid that will be impossible to resist". "This is a bid to win and we are world beaters," he said. Michael Ring, the Republic's Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, said the event would "raise the profile of what sport can do for the country".

"We all witnessed the massive boost to the national mood that was provided by the London Olympics. Sport is a great unifier, it brings people together and large events like this can also bring about a great sense of pride," he said.

IRFU CEO Philip Browne said the island of Ireland was the perfect venue for the event.

He said: "We believe it is opportune for us now to put forward Ireland's undoubted credentials to host world rugby's showpiece."

Irish rugby team coach Joe Schmidt, from New Zealand, said Ireland could be as successful as his native country, which hosted in 2011.

"You have got the same population and the same kind of energy around sporting occasions and I think you have got the stadia," he said.

It is hoped that Gaelic football venues such as Dublin's Croke Park and Belfast's Casement Park as well as GAA grounds in Cork, Limerick, Killarney and Galway will be possible event venues. Belfast's Kingspan Stadium at Ravenhill and the Aviva in Dublin as possible venues will also no doubt bolster the bid.

England will host next year's Rugby World Cup and in 2019 it will be in Japan.

Ireland will find out in 2017 if its bid has been successful.

 

An all-Ireland bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup was formally announced yesterday.

Key politicians from north and south of the border have been in discussions about the Irish Rugby Football Union bid for 10 months and have thrown their support behind it.

Ireland's potential rivals for the bid could include Argentina, America, South Africa and Italy. We will have to wait until 2017 to find out if the bid is successful.

Belfast Telegraph

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