Ireland's hopes of hosting 2023 Rugby World Cup suffer another crushing blow
Ireland's chances of resurrecting their bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup after the disappointment of the evaluation from World Rugby's technical review group have been hit by another setback.
Ireland came last or joint last in four of the five criteria set out by the technical review group as South Africa were named as World Rugby's preferred hosts.
The IRFU have vowed to fight on and lobby board members ahead of the secret ballot on November 15.
The winning bid needs to receive 20 of the 39 votes available but, as of this morning, South Africa have taken the lead after the chief executive of New Zealand Rugby Steve Tew revealed that their three votes will go to their Sanzaar partner and he urged other unions to follow suit.
"From a New Zealand point of view our board made a decision early on that if the process was seen to have worked well and been done fairly and professionally then it would be very hard not to vote the way of the recommendation," Tew told the New Zealand Herald.
"While the scores are relatively close there was a clear margin. South Africa is the best candidate so we'll be guided by the recommendation and vote accordingly.
"As a councilor I would like to think the recommendation will be a very strong lead for everyone sitting around that table. We all agreed a process and criteria and as far as I can tell it's all been done very well, produced a result and we should all now vote for that but I'll only be sitting there with New Zealand's votes."
President Michael D Higgins highlighted Ireland's suitability as a host nation during his recent State visit to New Zealand and although the Kiwis are not voting for us this time around, Tew urged the IRFU to bid again for 2027.
"They presented the way the tournament would work if it was allocated to Ireland very well. I'm not going to comment on what proposal would be better than the other. In 2003 New Zealand went through a very different process where we started off hosting a part of it and ended up hosting none. In 2005, when we went through the bid process, we were lucky enough to be successful," he added.
"When you have three strong candidates, as we did for 2011, you're going to have a disappointed group or two. One would hope they'd be keen to have a go in 2027. World Rugby is in a good position."
Belfast Telegraph Digital