Former Irish rugby star Hugo MacNeill is to chair a working group on Ireland’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar and Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring today confirmed that MacNeill, capped 37 times for Ireland, has agreed to chair the working group established in conjunction with their Northern colleagues.
The Working Group will comprise representatives from north and south from government departments, agencies and other key bodies and has been charged with looking into the key issues which will backbone a potential bid to host the lucrative tournament.
“I’m delighted that Hugo MacNeill has agreed to chair the working group to examine the potential of a Rugby World Cup bid by Ireland,” Minister Varadkar said.
“Hugo is an ideal appointment and will bring his knowledge of the rugby world, north-south relations, and his experience in business to bear on the work of the group.
"Hosting the Rugby World Cup is a very exciting prospect but there is a lot of work to do before we make a decision on whether to lodge our bid.”
Minister of State Ring added his support with the appointement of MacNeill.
“I really want to welcome Hugo on board and am chuffed that he accepted the appointment, given his rugby background and his proven ability in business," the Minister said.
"Sport can be a great unifier and as Chairman of the Irish Chapter of the Ireland Funds, he is also well known north and south. Attracting major international events is a key element of tourism strategy on both sides of the border and cooperation between north and south can only enhance such events.”
MacNeill, who is currently Managing Director for Goldman Sachs in Ireland, played for Ireland for eight seasons between 1981 and 1988 and scored ten tries.
He also played in the first Rugby World Cup in 1987 and for the British and Irish Lions.