Ireland Could Yet Host The Rugby World Cup

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Ireland could yet host the Rugby World Cup with World Rugby set to change the bidding process in a move that could pave the way for smaller nations to host future tournaments.

The Telegraph are reporting that a number of alternative biddings processes are currently being explored by rugby’s governing body. One option would be to combine voting on three future Rugby World Cups simultaneously, increasing the chance that at least one ‘smaller’ country will host the tournament for ‘developmental’ reasons.

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Ireland were touted as early favourites to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, before it was handed to France under controversial circumstances. Ireland was clearly the rugby world’s choice, while the technical review committee recommended South Africa.

But it was France who were awarded the tournament, simply because they guaranteed a net revenue return of at least £350 million. This is considerably more than what Ireland or South Africa could guarantee, with the decision ultimately boiling down purely to money.

Ireland had been touted as a strong contender early on, but were ultimately eliminated in the first round of voting.

“It is the philosophical debate that World Rugby has to have and will have,” chairman of World Rugby Bill Beaumont told the Telegraph. “

Do you always chase the pound, euro or dollar? Or sometimes do we think we are going to have to take less money out of it as organisers – and our members understand the consequences of that – and we use it as a development tool to grow the game.

“It could well be in Ireland, the USA, Argentina or anywhere on the planet that where we feel that as a world body, that is where we need to put our showpiece event. It is incumbent on us to do that.

Ireland have not ruled out bidding for future tournaments, so we live in hope.