Friday 28 October 2016

Briggs focused on World Cup glory, not men's 2023 bid

Published 13/05/2016 | 02:30

Ireland captain Niamh Briggs. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Ireland captain Niamh Briggs. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The theme of the 2017 Women's World Cup, which will be held in Dublin and Belfast next summer, is #bringit.

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The organisers hope that the staging, launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny amongst other luminaries in UCD yesterday, may also bring a significant boost to the IRFU's bid to host the men's equivalent in 2023.

"We are very much aware of that," says IRFU CEO Philip Browne.

"We have to be able to show that we can run an international tournament across the island of Ireland involving both governments, making sure that the logistics are right and making sure that the quality of what we do is right up there."

Kenny continues to declare that Ireland will win the bid, for which tenders arrive next week, with the decision being made next autumn.

That will coincide with the aftermath of its female equivalent, whose final takes place on August 26 when, you guess, Ireland captain Niamh Briggs may not care what happens to Ireland's 2023 bid once she has a winners' medal of her own.

"All we're doing is playing," says the Waterford woman, whose side beat New Zealand at the last competition in France in 2014 before succumbing to eventual winners England in the semi-final. "I'm sure it puts pressure on the organisers but for us, we don't even think of what 2023 can bring for them. For us it's now, it's about us and the tournament in 2017 and we can't really focus beyond that. We've all spoken about Irish people being great supporters of everything and I've no doubt they'll get behind us.

"We're all athletes, and we all want to win every game we play. I'm not going turn around and tell you that I'd be happy to get to a semi-final again. We want to go and win every game, be it every autumn international, every Six Nations, every World Cup. We're driven, and that doesn't change. Come back to me at the end of August, and I'll tell you whether it's been a success or not.

"There's obviously going to be pressure with it being here but we've got to embrace not going in as underdogs, we're going in as good rugby players. We should use that challenge to be even better, and that's really exciting for us."

Irish Independent

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