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Thoughts from Cuckoo HQ
Apr 17

The IRFU Rugby World Cup 2023 Bid - What Are Our Chances?

Ireland is bidding to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the race is hotting up. Do we have a shot at actually hosting the world's premier rugby union tournament?

If you haven’t seen the spectacle of a video (narrated by Liam Neeson) that launched the IRFU’s Rubgy World Cup bid by now, then you’ve been missing out, my friend.

The best of what makes Ireland such a special place features in the video and Ireland is promoted as ‘Ready for the World’, which is quite the exciting thought. 

The IRFU recently released a second video, showcasing four Irish stadia that are included in the bid. At 4 minutes long and featuring legendary sportsmen, it’s as worthy of a watch as the first.

Ireland is bidding against France and South Africa for the opportunity to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and the winner is set to be announced in November 2017.

We’re up against two very strong competitors, both having held a RWC in the last 25 years, so I decided I’d take a look at what Ireland can actually offer these people.

What makes Ireland ready to hold such a big event?

Good question!

1. We’re good at hospitality.

The first significant point is that we’re great craic, obviously. Irish people  are good at welcomes, and according to the RWC website, we hosted 10 million international visitors in 2016.

2. We love sport.

We are passionate about sport and we have a number of world-standard stadia just a couple of hours’ drive apart. For once, our small size is an advantage! Twelve venues across the island have been listed in the bid, with stadia in Killarney, Castlebar, Dublin and Belfast (including 8 GAA stadia in total).

3. We’ve gained experience.

Ireland has hosted many large-scale events in recent years, is more ready than ever to host an unforgettable RWC. Among the portfolio of events we have hosted, there is The Ryder Cup (2006), The Special Olympics (2003), Giro d’Italia (2014), The Heineken Cup Final (2013) and the Volvo Ocean Race (2012). Each of these events attracted significant numbers of attendees.

4. We’ve plenty of room for everyone!

We have more than enough bed nights to accommodate the rugby fans travelling from overseas.


New Zealand successfully bid to host the RWC in 2011 and it would seem that Ireland has picked up a trick or two from their bidding team. Murray Mc Cully, Minister of Foreign Affairs in New Zealand is supporting Ireland’s bid and stated that Ireland would be a ‘‘terrific place’’ to host the event. High praise indeed!

Benefits to Ireland – Why do we want to host the RWC?

1. Economic Impacts.

Well without a doubt, hosting the RWC here, without the need to invest in brand new stadia, would have a delightful economic impact across the island. While improvements may be necessary in some of the stadia, these wouldn’t come to anything near the cost of building new infrastructure. In addition, improvements to the 8 GAA stadia would bring great joy to Irish GAA fans!

2. We’ll get to show off!

As the stadia included in the bid are located across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, visitors coming to the games would have the opportunity to see all corners of our tiny island. These are experiences they may not have when attending regular Rugby games, which are generally held in Dublin.

3. Teamwork.

This event would offer us a platform to continue to develop North-South relations on the island, given that the stadia are dotted across both Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland.  Winning the bid would foster a sense of pride among us all and great collaboration and teamwork will be needed to make it one to remember.

4. Social impacts.

Social impacts of hosting the event will most likely include the development of a sense of pride and a sense of belonging among Irish locals. This will be accelerated by the fact that many Irish people across the country will have the chance to get involved locally, as again, the stadia in the running aren’t confined to Dublin! Residents in towns across the island will be preparing their areas for the visitors, and if all goes well, residents will get to experience the feel-good factor associated with hosting mega-events.

What are our chances?

Well, Ireland is the only destination of the three not to have hosted the event before. It’s hard to know if that will work for or against us. The final bids can be lodged until the 1st of June, so technically, there may be more bidders in the mix yet. Ireland has a lot to offer, as do France and South Africa, so only time will tell. 

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