Monday 16 September 2019

'I won't be lacing up my boots at a home World Cup' - Irish Rugby players react to losing out to France in 2023 vote

Ireland 2023 bid ambassador Brian O’Driscoll leaves the bid room after the Rugby World Cup 2023 host union announcement at the Royal Garden Hotel, London, England. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ireland 2023 bid ambassador Brian O’Driscoll leaves the bid room after the Rugby World Cup 2023 host union announcement at the Royal Garden Hotel, London, England. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Brian O'Driscoll during the Rugby World Cup 2023 Bid Presentations at he Royal Garden Hotel in London, England. Photo by Christopher Lee / World Rugby via Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

Irish Rugby players have expressed their disappointment at missing out on the opportunity to play in a Rugby World Cup in Ireland after the World Rugby Council awarded France hosting rights in London on Wednesday.

Ireland received just eight votes in the first count compared to France's 18 and 13 for South Africa with France winning out 24-15 in the second round of voting.

The council's decision to award France the tournament brings down the curtain on a four-year process for the Irish bid which first started in November 2013.

Bid ambassador Brian O'Driscoll said that he was very disappointed that Ireland missed out on the World Cup but that Ireland's bid team 'left nothing on the pitch'.

Meanwhile Ireland centre Garry Ringrose said that it was a huge achievement for Ireland just to be considered.

“I’m obviously hugely disappointed that we were unsuccessful in our bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023, but I’d like to wish France all the very best in their preparations for the tournament," said Ringrose.

"To have come this far in the bidding process is a huge achievement for a country of our size. Our bid team must take immense credit for all their hard work throughout the process.

“It would have been a huge honour and privilege for the people of Ireland to host the world for a few special weeks and for us to represent them. Hopefully we might get that opportunity again sometime in the future. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that I’ll be lacing up my boots when that time comes but I’ll look forward to playing my part from the stands alongside the world’s greatest supporters.”

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Former Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris said that an Rugby World Cup on Irish soil would have been like no other but that Ireland should learn from the bidding process and propose an even better event in the future.

“Having played in New Zealand in 2011, I’ve seen at first-hand how special an experience a World Cup can be. Despite playing in places like Auckland and Dunedin, it felt as though we were the home team as all of the Irish in that part of the world seemed to come out and support us.

“I believe that a tournament in Ireland would have been like no other. I was hugely excited by the prospect and at the thought of all of those Irish people throughout the world coming home. Sadly, it was not to be but I’m confident that we will take learnings from this bid and propose an even better event sometime into the future.”

Also commenting on the news was Rugby Players Ireland CEO, Simon Keogh:

“There is no doubt that the success of Rugby Players Ireland’s members on the field has had a significant part to play in Ireland’s ability to compete in this bid process. While the players and their coaching teams continue to break new ground competitively, Rugby Players Ireland also strives to realise its vision that says: ‘Ireland is the best place in the world to play rugby.’ We are disappointed with today’s news, but we will continue in our efforts to provide for our players and ensure that Ireland remains at the forefront of the game.”

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