As expected, an Irish bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 has been signalled this morning in Armagh. The IRFU have stated their intention to submit a bid to host the global rugby showpiece. They were joined by leading politicians from North and South of the border to present this joint bid for the island of Ireland.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny stated: "I am delighted to formally announce the Government's support, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Executive, to formally back the IRFU's bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.(...)The Government will provide its full support to make it happen."
There are a number of GAA Stadiums that will be used as part of the bid, to go along with traditional rugby stadiums like Thomond Park, Ravenhill and Lansdowne Road. Croke Park, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, and Casement Park are likely to be part of the bid.
Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson also added his support: "I fully support this bid by the IRFU to bring an elite international sporting event to the home of one of the powerhouses of world rugby. It would be a tremendous achievement to see the IRFU host the Rugby World Cup 2023. 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."
IRFU CEO Philip Browne thanked the support from both governments and the GAA saying: The IRFU thanks both Governments for the enthusiasm and unstinting support they have shown in getting this project off the ground. I would also wish to acknowledge the hard work of the authorities north and south, particularly the group chaired by Hugo MacNeill, and the Ministers in both administrations who have dedicated their time and resources in assisting us to arrive at this point. The GAA has previously agreed that it would make its stadia available for the staging of matches and it will now be up to the Bid team to put together a specific match schedule in line with the requirements of World Rugby (formerly the International Rugby Board).
Browne also said he expects that a bid will cost in the region of €1.5 million.
Ireland will face tough competition to host the event, with Argentina, South Africa and Italy also competiting. England will host the 2015 event, while the 2019 showpiece will be in 2019. South Africa are favourites to host it again, as World Rugby will be keen to give it to a Southern Hemisphere country after two Northern Hemisphere hostings, and Ireland's close proximity to England after 2015 may be a negative.
What will be looked on positively in the Irish bid is the cross border venture, the quality transport links and the minimal stadium construction necessary to host the event. It is hoped that after the successful hosting of RWC 2011 in New Zealand, that a similar sized country like Ireland could be trusted with the 2023 edition.
Read the full announcement here on the IRFU website