Thursday 22 August 2019

'We were caught in the crossfire' - Bid chairman Dick Spring on why Wales and Scotland voted against Ireland

Ireland 2023 Oversight Board chairman Dick Spring, and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, T.D., right, react during the Rugby World Cup 2023 host union announcement at the Royal Garden Hotel, London, England. Photo by Alex Broadway / World Rugby via Sportsfile
Ireland 2023 Oversight Board chairman Dick Spring, and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, T.D., right, react during the Rugby World Cup 2023 host union announcement at the Royal Garden Hotel, London, England. Photo by Alex Broadway / World Rugby via Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

There was abject disappointment in rugby circles this afternoon that our near-neighbours in Wales and Scotland didn't back our bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

England were the only home nation to throw their weight and their three votes behind the Irish effort.

Ireland were eliminated in the first round of voting of the World Rugby council members after garnering just eight votes.

When those eight votes were redistributed in the second round, France overcame World Rugby's preferred candidate South Africa by 24 to 15.

Ireland's bid chairman Dick Spring explained why he felt Wales and Scotland had deserted us.

"That's the big disappointment really from all of this, that we didn't get the support of the home nations. I would have thought after a century and a half of cooperation between Ireland, Scotland and Wales that we would have got their support," he told RTE Sport.

"That is the biggest disappointment from my point of view at the end of the day.

"Scotland made it quite clear that they were going to support whoever put up the most money. They have their own financial pressures in Scotland and they are trying to maximise their take from proceedings.

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"Wales found themselves in a situation where Gareth Davies who is a senior official (WRU chairman) was on the sub-committee that recommended the evaluation so they felt they couldn't go against him. We were caught in the middle of a crossfire there."

Our PRO14 and Six Nations partners in Italy also voted elsewhere while strong lobbying of the Argentine union also didn't manifest into votes.

"We had done a severe amount of lobbying with Argentina and indeed with Italy and we thought that given the level of cooperation between ourselves and Italy in the Six Nations that on this occasion, they would have supported us," he added.

"Overall this is a bitterly disappointing day for the IRFU, the Irish government and the Irish people."

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