Ministers statement following Rugby World Cup Board initial recommendation

Tuesday 31 October 2017

Today, Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin expressed their disappointment having heard the announcement this morning from the Rugby World Cup Board which has made an initial recommendation that South Africa would be the most favoured country to hold the 2023 Rugby World Cup.  Commenting on the news,

Minister Ross stated: “This is difficult setback but one that we can overcome.  World Rugby made it clear that they were very impressed by the quality and detail of the Irish bid.  The Report highlighted that Ireland has all the capabilities to host an outstanding Rugby World Cup in 2023.  I am strongly encouraged by two things: firstly that World Rugby have made it clear that “any of the three candidates could host a successful Rugby World Cup”.  I am also encouraged that we ran both South Africa and France very close in the scoring.”

Minister of State Griffin added: “This bid is still winnable.  Ultimately, the decision rests with the Council Members of World Rugby. We can still do this.  The IRFU will draw on all of their Irish spirit over the coming weeks to relay Ireland’s compelling proposition to the Council ahead of the vote on November 15th.  South Africa may be the favourite now, but the final vote is two weeks away, a long time in sport and politics.”

South Africa were the favoured bidder, marginally ahead of France who were slightly ahead of Ireland.  South Africa’s strength lies in its recently constructed stadiums, built for the FIFA World Cup in 2010.  The closeness of Ireland’s scores to both South Africa and France in the other criteria will stiffen our resolve to fight to the last ahead of the final vote on 15 November. 

Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport 01 604 1090 / 01 604 1093

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