Ireland Not Being Awarded The 2023 Rugby World Cup Would Be A Travesty
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Ready for the world.
In two days, World Rugby will announce who eventually hosts the 2023 Rugby World Cup. It is not a simple decision, certainly not as simple as many of us would like it to be. It is one, no doubt, made more difficult by the technical review that recommended South Africa as hosts and the criticism that has followed from around the world.
In many of these aspects, the French and South African bids exceed the exceptional Irish bid. But the one question I have to ask is this; if the review board have said Ireland are capable of hosting a magnificent event, how can they not award it to Ireland? With both of Irelands competitors having previously had the honour then Ireland are the only country in the running not to have enjoyed this honour and, if they fail to win the bid, they will remain, with Scotland, the only original top eight rugby Countries to have never hosted the coveted event. Sure RWC matches have made an appearance on Irish shores in both 1991 and 1999 with 1991 technically being hosted by all four home unions but, when the opening match and the final are in a different country you are only a bystander.
I am not saying that this is reason enough for Ireland to win but World Rugby will need to give solid reasoning not to. In the interest of treating all members equally, if Ireland has done enough in their bid to prove they can produce a tournament of real merit then what reason could they give for not giving it to Ireland? Yes previous experience of hosting major tournaments tips the balance in both France and South Africa’s favour and that is a worry as to how that will be perceived. But what World Rugby needs to be aware of is that, it is because Ireland has never hosted a tournament that this would be sure to an occasion like no other that went before. Ireland will appreciate the opportunity to show the world what it can do in a way that the other, more experienced hosts, would not be an enthusiastic. Ireland would be determined that each and every rugby fan would leave this country with memories that they will treasure for a lifetime. This is where the strength of Irelands bid exists and this they would be guaranteed to achieve.
Regardless of what happens great praise should be heaped on everyone involved in the Irish bid. Many bodies who once would have viewed each other with little more than contempt found the will to work together for the greater good. Where once politicians North and South of the border struggled to work together the united front that was shown provided great symbolic importance to the bid. As for the GAA, an organisation that once banned their players from playing rugby and other “foreign sports”, the whole hearted way in which they have thrown their weight behind this bid should never be forgotten. Let’s hope that this spirit of co-operation continues and that all involved continue to work together for the benefit of all on our Island. In the meantime we wait.