The Reason Scotland Didn’t Vote For Ireland To Host RWC 2023 Becomes Apparent

You scratch my back.

There are many reasons Ireland were not selected to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Some fair, some questionable. But at the end of the day it will be France hosting rugby’s showpiece event in five year’s time.

This is despite the fact that South Africa were recommended by the Technical Review Committee and Ireland were overwhelming favourites across the board. And despite the fact that France already hosted the event as recently as 2007.

Not winning the rights really hurt Ireland as a nation. Many felt they were long overdue considering their contribution to rugby over the years, and felt they ticked all the necessary boxes. The cost of putting in a proposal was also quite significant – meaning a future bid is highly unlikely.

But perhaps what hurt the most was the fact that they were unable to rely on their neighbours Wales and Scotland (although England in fairness voted for Ireland). IRFU chief executive Phillips Browne at the time said the Welsh Rugby Union wanted to back Gareth Davies, and go with the committee’s recommendation of South Africa. Scotland meanwhile ‘wanted the money’, with France guaranteeing more revenue.

“The bottom line is that we were disappointed that Scotland and Wales didn’t vote for us. They had reasons. Scotland wanted to go for the money and Wales wanted to effectively support Gareth Davies, who was part of the evaluation process.” Browne said.

Now it’s become apparent that the Scottish Rugby Union may have had an ‘arrangement’ with France that led to them backing the FFR. Scotland will play France in the summer of 2019 in two fixtures – one home and one away in the lead up to Japan 2019.

The French will also play Italy in August 2019, with the Italian Federation said to have voted for them also. A classic case of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

Money over merit strikes once again.