Irish Rugby World Cup Bid

Ireland Rugby World CupBeating New Zealand in rugby leads to euphoria. Being beaten by them quite the opposite particularly when the difference in score is two points.

In 2013, the All-Blacks defeated Ireland in Dublin when they scored a try in the last twenty seconds followed by a conversion which was taken twice. We were aghast.

Travelling to Dublin for events is not cheap so I left the capital that evening with a broken heart and an empty wallet.


After the rugby match I moved the melancholy to some place other than my conscious mind and reflected on the positives, as any good therapist would advise.

The All-Blacks game was my first visit to the new Lansdowne Road – I’m not a fan of naming rights so will never use the A word. At the start of the game, as I sat waiting for the Haka, I couldn’t help but notice the architectural magnificence of the structure and wondered what other small country has two world-class stadia in its capital city.


As we mauled our way through the post-match BMW-saturated lanes of South Dublin, I re-visited Lansdowne Road’s splendour in my mind and opened up a discussion from the backseat about the Irish Rugby World Cup bid. At the time, plans were being put in place to bid for the 2023 tournament. By Naas we had decided on the stadia for the group stages.

Ever since New Zealand successfully hosted the 2011 Rugby World Cup (and successfully won it as well) a constructive debate kicked off regarding the possibility of hosting the tournament on the island of Ireland and the benefit such a tournament would have on the bank balance and morale of both jurisdictions.

The debate moved from the barstools to the corridors of power with a cross-border working group set up by the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive comprising of key bodies associated with preparing a bid. The bid would be impossible without the availability of selected GAA stadia so that sporting organisation came on board with the bid.

In 2014, the Irish Rugby World Cup bid was announced and was headed up by former rugby player Dick Spring. The GAA’s magnificent Croke Park stadium, the fourth-largest in Europe, was to host the final.

Alas, it was not meant to be. In 2017, France was selected as the 2023 host, having previously hosted the 2007 tournament. South Africa was the other country in the bid. Like France, South Africa is a former tournament host (1995).


One of the few things Ireland does to an exceptionally high standard is sport. Hosting a Rugby World Cup would showcase us at our best and be a much needed boost to our economy. Fingers crossed that we learn lessons from the bid and eventually bring rugby’s world tournament to Ireland.

For the 2015 Rugby World Cup check out my post on Rugby in Cardiff.

Like reading about sport and travel? Then have a look at my Sport category of blog posts.

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