sports gazette

Ireland Launch 2023 Rugby World Cup Bid

Published: 15 Nov 2016

Ireland released the video for their Rugby World Cup 2023 bid. Sports Gazette takes a look at the candidates.


Some believe World Rugby will intend to return rugby to the 'heartlands' in 2023 and Ireland is certainly well suited to do that!

The Shamrocks have not hosted a World Cup since its inception in 1987 but were joint hosts in 1991 with the Home Nations.

There will certainly be no concerns that the country would accept the Rugby World Cup. Four provinces of Ireland- Munster, Ulster, Connacht and Leinster- hold nine of the 15 Pro12 Championships.

The combination of Croke Park, Pro12 stadiums and GAA stadiums, with their mixed standing and seated arrangements, adds a new flavour.

More importantly, Ireland still has a prominent Gaelic sporting culture. The GAA would be welcoming to the rugby world- they’re welcoming everyone next year for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup!

The video published today, oozing Irish-ness from Liam Neeson’s voice, identifies with the warm spirit of the rock that came before the new world- perhaps the world will now come to the rock?

The big question: Can they take us all?


With Japan hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup, France would provide a certain centre for revenue after the venture into new areas.

However, one big concern will be the fact France hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup. This is before the Paris attacks and Russian violence at Euro 2016 are considered- security must be a priority.

Despite this, the infrastructure is in place for hosting the best rugby teams and their fans. With new transport links in place for the Euros, France may appear to be the most viable option.

In addition, with the Top 14 drawing the highest attendance in Europe for rugby union, France would be ready for a Rugby World Cup.

In contrast to Ireland, rugby is not France’s most popular sport- that’s football. However, with the 2022 World Cup and 2024 Euros either side, there should be no problem exciting the country for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The big question: Will it be safe?

South Africa

If you’re reading this article, you won’t need me to tell you about the last time South Africa hosted the Rugby World Cup.

How will South Africa ever top 1995, when Nelson Mandela wore a Springboks jersey in the final, seen by many as an act of defiance in a time of apartheid.

The big positive for South Africa is the same that applies to Ireland: returning rugby to the heartlands.

The Currie Cup has been running in South Africa since the 1890s but is still growing, aiming to add a team from Namibia this season.

Also, South Africa is ready to go too: with the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 2010 World Cup under their belt, South Africa have reason to be confident.

Although there may be concerns about crime, there is no doubt South Africa would put the spirit in rugby in a new era for the country.

The Big Question: Can they top 1995?

Italy (sort of)

Well, they’re not actually candidates.

Italy were only three votes away from hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Having announced their bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in March 2015, they remained confident.

However, on 28th September, Italy decided to withdraw.

One has to wonder where international sport has disappeared to in Italy. Their last major sporting event was the 1990 World Cup.

Their last defeat was a miserable 10-68 loss to New Zealand at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday. Despite this, improvements came earlier this year with an 18-20 win over Canada for new manager Conor O’Shea.

The withdrawal could prove to be another nail in the coffin for Italy.

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