The Irish Rugby Football Union, today, formally announced its intention to submit a bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup in Ireland. The announcement was made in conjunction with the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, both of whom pledged their support for the tournament bid.

Speaking at the event, which took place at a function in The Royal School, Armagh, the Taoiseach,Enda Kenny, TD, said:

“I am delighted to formally announce the Government’s support, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Executive, to formally back the IRFU’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Ireland will put together a winning bid that will be impossible to resist. We have the fans, the stadiums, and the accessibility to make it a World Cup to remember. Irish people love our sport. We are passionate about sport and we celebrate it. We want to share the Irish sporting experience with the world by inviting the world to Ireland. I’m absolutely confident that Ireland will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The Government will provide its full support to make it happen.”

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson added:

“I fully support this bid by the IRFU to bring an elite international sporting event to the home of one of the power houses of world rugby. It would be a tremendous achievement to see the IRFU host the Rugby World Cup 2023.

“This bid shows the ambition of the Northern Ireland Executive and our determination to bring world class international sporting events to Northern Ireland.

“Northern Ireland has demonstrated that whatever the event, whatever the occasion, we deliver. Regardless of whether it is cycling, golf, the World Police and Fire Games and now rugby, I have no doubt that this will be a resounding success both on and off the field.

“Infrastructure is key to this bid and the Northern Ireland Executive has already invested £14.7million in the redevelopment of the home of Ulster rugby to redevelop and expand the capacity of the stadium. World class players require world class facilities and we have that at Kingspan.”
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said:

“I fully endorse the IRFU bid to bring the Rugby World Cup to Ireland in 2023. Rest assured we will put together a robust and compelling bid to bring this sporting spectacle to Ireland. 

“This would involve teams coming to Ireland weeks in advance for training camps providing a major boost to the tourism industry and that’s before the supporters from across the world descend. In 2007 the Rugby World Cup broadcast in over 200 countries and attracted a television audience of 4.2 billion so the potential audience is huge.

“Central to this will be having the right infrastructure in place to make it a success. I thank the IRFU and GAA for their collaboration and foresight. This bid shows Ireland has the appetite to host an international sporting event on a scale never seen before in our history, and we are determined to make it a winning bid.

“Think of the positive impact Irish supporters of all codes have on major sporting competitions. That’s the welcome that awaits the world.”
In formally announcing the IRFU’s intention to bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup Philip Browne, Chief Executive, Irish Rugby Football Union said;

“The Irish Rugby Football Union believes that Ireland, and its people, will make the perfect hosts for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“The Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s major sporting events and the IRFU has been a central supporter of the tournament since its inauguration in 1987.

“In addition, Ireland has played a major part in the development of rugby football internationally. Stretching back to the Union’s formation in 1879, and right throughout the modern era, Irish Rugby has supplied a series of inspirational players and administrators to the international game. We believe it is opportune for us now to put forward Ireland’s undoubted credentials to host world rugby’s showpiece.

“The IRFU thanks both Governments for the enthusiasm and unstinting support they have shown in getting this project off the ground. I would also wish to acknowledge the hard work of the authorities North and South, particularly the group chaired by Hugo MacNeill, and the Ministers in both administrations who have dedicated their time and resources in assisting us to arrive at this point. I have no doubt but that Ireland can present a Rugby World Cup which would leave a truly positive and indelible mark on the game and the world’s perception of it.”

The bid process will involve the development of a detailed programme, covering match schedules and venues, accommodation, international access, internal transport, communications infrastructure and community involvement. It is anticipated that the delivery of a world class bid will cost €;1.5 million.

The GAA has previously agreed that it would make its stadia available for the staging of matches and it will now be up to the Bid team to put together a specific match schedule in line with the requirements of World Rugby (formerly the International Rugby Board).

The decision to appoint a host union for a Rugby World Cup is taken by World Rugby, the international governing body for rugby, following a very detailed process which culminates in a meeting of all member Unions at which the final decision is made. It is expected the decision on Rugby World Cup 2023 will be taken in mid 2017.

The RWC is now broadcast in over 200 countries and the audience has grown exponentially since the first World Cup in 1987 drew a world television audience of 230 million. The 2007 tournament, staged in France, had a cumulative world television audience of 4.2 billion, while RWC 2011, staged in New Zealand, attracted 3.94 billion, which is particularly impressive, given the time zone difference from the major rugby TV markets.

Rugby World Cup 2023 has the potential to attract in excess of 350,000 visitors to Ireland for the tournament.