Rugby World Cup: Ireland submits bid for 2023 tournament

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Ireland make final pitch for 2023 Rugby World Cup

Ireland promised to deliver a 'Tournament Like No Other' when they submitted their bid to host the 2023 World Cup in London on Monday.

The delegation included An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and former Ireland and Lions skipper Brian O'Driscoll.

"This is the players' opportunity to shine and Ireland will ensure they can live their dream," said O'Driscoll.

South Africa and France are also bidding for the tournament and a final decision will be made on 15 November.

"Ireland 2023 will truly be a 'Tournament Like No Other' and central to this will be our focus on the players," added bid ambassador O'Driscoll.

"We have put enormous time, energy and experience into looking at the demands a modern Rugby World Cup makes on players and teams.

"This starts with world-class facilities and services. Facilities that put the players front and centre, allowing every player the opportunity to perform to his absolute potential."

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spearheaded the Irish bid delegation in London
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spearheaded the Irish bid delegation in London

The IRFU believe staging the World Cup would have a "positive economic impact" on the island of more that 1.5 billion euro.

"This bid represents the hopes and aspirations of the entire Island of Ireland and is focused firmly on the future of rugby and our communities," said Taoiseach Varadkar.

"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 territory.

"Ireland is a modern and changing nation, with the youngest population and fastest-growing economy in Europe. An island of peace and prosperity, with a new-found self-confidence about our place in the world.

"This bid is grounded in certainty, through the unparalleled support of Ireland's jurisdictions north and south, and the traditions of the IRFU. Its success will be our total focus and will carry the support of Ireland's 70 million strong diaspora.

"The 2023 Rugby World Cup will be a national priority."

Irish insist Brexit will not hinder their bid

Taoiseach Varadkar insisted that the impending Brexit will not hinder Ireland's bid while Irish officials also insisted that Casement Park will be redeveloped well in time for the 2023 tournament.

Belfast venues Casement Park and Kingspan Stadium are among eight venues which the Irish plan to use as part of the joint North-South bid.

"There is uncertainty in trade arrangements but where there is no uncertainty is with regards to common travel," said Varadkar.

"People can travel without a passport across the north-south border so whatever happens with trade it won't affect people attending matches."

But while Irish officials are expressing optimism about their chances, there may be concerns that the greater financial return promised by the French and South African bids could sway World Rugby's decision.

Ireland have promised to meet World Rugby's stated target of £120m but the French and South Africans say they will stump up tournament fees of £150m and £160m.

In addition, both France and South Africa claim that the tournament will generate profits for World Rugby in excess of £220m if the tournament is staged in their country.

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