Irish Taoiseach Has A Pop At South Africa’s Rugby World Cup Bid

It’s not over yet.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has made it clear that Ireland will not be withdrawing from the race to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, taking a swipe at South Africa’s bid in the process.

Varadkar was responding to South African Rugby Ceo Jurie Roux’s comments following World Rugby’s recommendation that South Africa host the showpiece event.

Roux suggested Ireland and France should “stick to the moral high ground” and pull out of the race. Varadkar went on the offensive, saying the Irish bid is “still alive” and stated if the rugby unions accept the technical review they will be effectively voting for a poorly-attended tournament.

“We won’t be pulling out,” Varadkar said
“It’s now down to votes and we’ll be campaigning for votes between now and November 15.
“There were only a few percentage points between the three bids and it seems that the areas we fell down on, at least in terms of the technical assessment, was our stadiums and our stadium infrastructure.”
“But if you look at what we have already it’s a much better stadium infrastructure than New Zealand had when they hosted the Rugby World Cup back in 2011. It was always part of our bid to upgrade our stadiums over the next five years.
There’s money there to do exactly that,”
“What we want is a tournament where people see matches in full stadiums in the middle of rugby communities in our cities rather than in big soccer stadiums on the outskirts of our cities that would be half-empty. That’s part of the case we’ll be making to the rugby unions,”

The Ireland 2023 Bid Oversight Board has reiterated the Taoiseach’s remarks in Seattle earlier today and rebutted any suggestion that it should step aside from the Rugby World Cup 2023 process ahead of the vote by the Council of World Rugby on November 15.

Dick Spring, Chairman, Ireland 2023 Bid Oversight Board stated:

“While it is not surprising to hear such innuendo, it is totally inappropriate.
There is in place a democratic process, whereby the council members of World Rugby, through their vote, are the ultimate arbitrators of who will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. To undermine this process in any way does a disservice to the entire structure.
The recent evaluation report has stated categorically that ‘any of the three candidates could host a successful World Cup’. We continue to believe, as the report has confirmed and many others across the World Rugby firmament believe, that Ireland, as a new host, offers the best option for the tournament in 2023, truly a ‘Tournament Like No Other’.
Ireland is now in dialogue with its many friends throughout world rugby and their initial response to us has been one of surprise at the evaluation report and its findings.
As we have previously stated Ireland’s team will compete to the final whistle as we bid to turn our historic bid plans into reality.”

What do you think? Are Ireland still in the running?

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