Hosting the Rugby World Cup is more than just a dream

Published 22/09/2015 | 00:00

WITH the dismal summer over, and with it the All-Ireland Championship, the eyes of Irish sports fans are this week turning to the Rugby World Cup and Ireland's ambitious bid to lift the Webb Ellis trophy.

The six week festival of rugby got off to a thrilling start with underdogs Japan's stunning victory over the mighty Springboks catching the eye, demolishing the myth that the Rugby World Cup can be an uninspiring tournament.

That historic lack of interest in rugby in Ireland - despite the recent successes of Ireland, Munster and Leinster the code is still much less popular than GAA and soccer - is slowly changing and at just the right time.

The bidding war to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup is now underway and Ireland is well placed to land the tournament.

While many may scoff at the notion of Ireland hosting a major international tournament, we are extremely well placed to host the event in eight years. What's more, should the bid be successful there is nowhere in the country that wouldn't benefit in some way.

With eight GAA stadiums likely to be central to Ireland's bid, the tournament would not be limited to the cities and the event would have a truly national feel, akin to New Zealand in 2011.

Though the final list of stadia to be used in the bid - aside from the obvious Croke Park, Aviva Stadium, Ravenhill, Thomond Park and RDS - is yet to be revealed, most major GAA grounds will be in contention.

These would include Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney, Cork's Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Semple Stadium in Thurles, Limerick's Gaelic Grounds, Pearse Stadium in Galway, McHale Park in Castlebar and Casement Park in Antrim.

As such, the tournament would be well spread across the country with the added benefit that the 20 participating teams, and most importantly their fans, will need to be housed in various locations close to these venues before and during the event.

To put that in perspective, while only 13 venues are being used for this year's tournament in the UK the teams are being hosted in a further 40 venues across the UK.

The smallest venue in use this year is the 12,300 capacity Sandy Park Stadium in Exeter while the largest is the 90,000 seat Wembley Stadium. That is a capacity requirement Ireland can easily meet with its existing stadia.

The RDS, the smallest of Ireland's mooted venues can host 18,500 while the 82,300 capacity Croke Park exceeds Twickenham which hosts this year's final.

As a smaller country Ireland, like New Zealand, would also suit the travel needs of teams and fans. The country's quality road network, the most positive legacy of Ireland's boom, provides easy links between venues and is an additional boost to the bid.

If successful the bid would also have long term benefits for the stadia as €40m would need to be invested in additional seating, floodlights, screens and media and corporate facilities.

This year's Rugby World Cup is worth up to £2 billion to the UK economy with half a million visitors arriving for up to six weeks and a global TV audience of over four billion in 200 countries.

Just imagine what that could do for Ireland. Make no mistake Ireland faces a tough battle with South Africa, France and Italy. The possibility that the 2023 tournament could be expanded to 24 teams, could also pose problems, though not insurmountable.

For all, that Ireland remains in a very good position two years out from the announcement and a talented team is putting together Ireland's bid. It is a daunting challenge but it can be achieved - if we dare to dream.

WITH the dismal summer over, and with it the All Ireland championship, the eyes of Irish sports fans are this week turning to the Rugby World Cup and Ireland's ambitious bid to lift the Webb Ellis trophy.

The six week festival of rugby got off to a thrilling start with underdogs Japan's stunning victory over the mighty Springboks catching the eye of many neutrals and, in one fell swoop, demolishing the myth that the Rugby World Cup can be an uninspiring tournament for those not passionate about the game.

That historic lack of interest in Rugby in Ireland (despite the recent successes of Ireland, Munster and Leinster the code is still much less popular than GAA and soccer) is slowly changing and at just the right time.

The bidding war to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup is now underway and Ireland is well placed to land the tournament.

While many may scoff at the notion of Ireland hosting a major International tournament Ireland is extremely well placed to host the event in eight years. What's more should the bid be successful there is nowhere in the country that wouldn't benefit in some way.

With eight GAA stadiums likely to be central to Ireland's bid the tournament would not be limited to the cities and the event would have a truly national feel, akin to that seen in New Zealand in 2011.

Though the final list of stadia to be used in the bid (aside from the obvious Croke Park, Aviva Stadium, Ravenhill, Thomond Park and RDS) is yet to be revealed most major GAA grounds will be in contention.

These would include Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney, Cork's Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Semple Stadium in Thurles, Limerick's Gaelic Grounds, Pearse Stadium in Galway, McHale Park in Castlebar and Casement Park in Antrim.

As such the tournament would be well spread across the country with the added benefit that the 20 participating teams, and most importantly their fans, will need to be housed in various locations close to these venues before and during the event.

To put that in perspective while only 13 venues are being used for this year's tournament in the UK the teams are being hosted in a further 40 venues across the UK.

Ireland's existing stadiums also need only minor improvements to bring them to World Cup standard.

The smallest venue in use this year is the 12,300 capacity Sandy Park Stadium in Exeter while the largest is the 90,000 seat Wembley Stadium. That is a capacity requirement Ireland can easily meet with its existing stadia.

The RDS, the smallest of Ireland's mooted venues can host 18,500 while Croke Park, with a capacity of 82,300, exceeds Twickenham which hosts this year's final.

As a smaller country Ireland, like New Zealand, would also suit the travel needs of teams and fans. The country's quality road network, the most positive legacy of Ireland's boom, provides easy links between all venues and will provide an additional boost to the bid.

If successful the bid would also have long term benefits for the stadia being used. Some €40 million would need to be invested to equip them with necessary additional seating, floodlights, screens and media and corporate facilities.

This year's Rugby World Cup will be worth up to £2 billion to the UK economy with half a million visitors arriving for up to six weeks and a global TV audience of over four billion in 200 countries.

Just imagine what that could do for Ireland.

Make no mistake Ireland faces a tough battle with South Africa, France and Italy all in a position to make very strong bids. The possibility that the 2023 tournament could be expanded to 24 teams, requiring extra stadia and resources, could also pose problems, though not insurmountable ones.

For all, that Ireland remains in a very good position two years out from the announcement and an extremely talented team has been put together to back Ireland's bid.

It is a daunting challenge but one that can be achieved if we dare to dream and if the country can pull together behind it.

WITH the dismal summer over, and with it the All-Ireland Championship, the eyes of Irish sports fans are this week turning to the Rugby World Cup and Ireland's ambitious bid to lift the Webb Ellis trophy.

The six week festival of rugby got off to a thrilling start with underdogs Japan's stunning victory over the mighty Springboks catching the eye, demolishing the myth that the Rugby World Cup can be an uninspiring tournament.

That historic lack of interest in rugby in Ireland - despite the recent successes of Ireland, Munster and Leinster the code is still much less popular than GAA and soccer - is slowly changing and at just the right time.

The bidding war to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup is now underway and Ireland is well placed to land the tournament.

While many may scoff at the notion of Ireland hosting a major international tournament, we are extremely well placed to host the event in eight years. What's more, should the bid be successful there is nowhere in the country that wouldn't benefit in some way.

With eight GAA stadiums likely to be central to Ireland's bid, the tournament would not be limited to the cities and the event would have a truly national feel, akin to New Zealand in 2011.

Though the final list of stadia to be used in the bid - aside from the obvious Croke Park, Aviva Stadium, Ravenhill, Thomond Park and RDS - is yet to be revealed, most major GAA grounds will be in contention.

These would include Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney, Cork's Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Semple Stadium in Thurles, Limerick's Gaelic Grounds, Pearse Stadium in Galway, McHale Park in Castlebar and Casement Park in Antrim.

As such, the tournament would be well spread across the country with the added benefit that the 20 participating teams, and most importantly their fans, will need to be housed in various locations.

To put that in perspective, while only 13 venues are being used for this year's tournament in the UK the teams are being hosted in a further 40 venues across the UK.

The smallest venue in use this year is the 12,300 capacity Sandy Park Stadium in Exeter while the largest is the 90,000 seat Wembley Stadium. That is a capacity requirement Ireland can easily meet with its existing stadia. The RDS, the smallest of Ireland's mooted venues can host 18,500 while the 82,300 capacity Croke Park exceeds Twickenham which hosts this year's final.

As a smaller country Ireland, like New Zealand, would also suit the travel needs of teams and fans. The country's quality road network, the most positive legacy of Ireland's boom, provides easy links between venues and is an additional boost to the bid.

If successful the bid would also have long term benefits for the stadia as €40m would need to be invested in additional seating, floodlights, screens and media and corporate facilities.

This year's tournament is worth up to £2bn to the UK economy with half a million visitors and a four billion global TV audience.

Just imagine what that could do for Ireland. Make no mistake Ireland faces a tough battle with South Africa, France and Italy. The possibility that the 2023 tournament could be expanded to 24 teams, could also pose problems, though not insurmountable.

For all, that Ireland remains in a very good position two years out from the announcement and a talented team is putting together Ireland's bid. It is a daunting challenge but it can be achieved - if we dare to dream.

Wexford People

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