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IRFU touts merits of World Cup bid ahead of World Rugby presentations

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has claimed it will deliver the largest, most secure, commercial programme ever offered to World Rugby as it touted its appeal as a new host and connection to the North American market as it seeks to secure the 2023 World Cup.

IRFU officials today (Tuesday) spelled out their goals a week before bid presentations are due to be made to the World Rugby Council. Ireland has never hosted the Rugby World Cup and its cross-border bid will utilise traditional rugby venues such as the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Kingspan Stadium in Belfast and Thomond Park in Limerick, as well as historic Gaelic football venues, including Croke Park in Dublin and Belfast’s Casement Park.

While exact details of the financial package being offered to World Rugby remain confidential, the IRFU said it is confident its financial offer will be the largest delivered to World Rugby, and the most secure, thanks to the commitment of the governments of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Kevin Potts, IRFU chief operating officer and bid director, said: “This bid represents the hopes and aspirations of the entire island and is focused very firmly on the future. It presents World Rugby with a compelling proposition that combines all the advantages of a traditional rugby market with the many opportunities of a new one.

“A key part of our vision is to support the growth of rugby worldwide – by using the Rugby World Cup in Ireland to connect with the wonderful support of the Irish diaspora worldwide, particularly some 40 million in North America alone. Through the diaspora and Ireland's existing, proven platforms with them, this tournament will set new records for travelling fans and connect with new audiences for the game internationally.”

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne also pointed to the benefit of awarding the tournament to two nations in which it will be the sole focus of major event bidding and hosting. 

He added: “Ireland's commitment is underlined by the fact that Rugby World Cup 2023, from the turn of the decade, will be our sole focus in terms of a major international sporting event, ensuring no distractions for key host authorities and no competition for the attention of Irish sports fans and sponsors.”

Ireland faces competition from France and South Africa in the race to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup. World Rugby will announce the host nation on November 15.