Sunday 17 December 2017

Ireland's 2023 RWC bid chairman Dick Spring confident we have 40pc of the vote already

Dick Spring, Chairman of Ireland’s RWC 2023 was in bullish mood today as he discussed bringing rugby's greatest competition to the Emerald Isle.

A day after their successful coup in landing the 2017 Women's World Cup last week , the IRFU named Dick Spring as the man to spearhead their attempt to land the big one six years later, with Brian O'Driscoll acting as an ambassador.

Speaking on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1, the former Labour leader was very confident that votes on the world board had already been nailed down.

"I would say at this stage that we are well up around the 40pc mark and we will be working on that but you need to get one over the quota," the former Ireland international said.

While a number of bid rivals have emerged like France, Italy, Argentina and the USA, Mr Spring said that South Africa would feel "very strong"  about their bid.

He explained that the voting system that will decide the hosts of the 2023 tournament is about to  change.

"The voting procedure is going to change by the end of the year, at the moment there are 27 votes on the World Board but that could be about to go up to around 35 or 40," he added

"Everyone wants change but no one wants to lose their strong position. Their will be changes to World Rugby in terms of the voting strengths of countries and we'll know about that by the autumn."

The official bid will be made next month and Spring revealed that he was very confident over the infrastructure available in terms of stadia and other factors.

"This is not just the IRFU bidding, this is sport Ireland. Certain stadia will be upgraded and that was in the planning anyway and of you look retrospectively, the good work that has been done over the last 10 years, 20 years ago  we couldn't have brought this to Ireland."

The upgrade to Casement Park in Antrim has hit a legal stumbling block which presents a problem.

"The bid could probably go ahead without it (Casement), but we'd obviously prefer if it was available. I would hope that they would resolve their difficulties and it's in the GAA interest to get this resolved ASAP," he continued.

He believes that Ireland are in a much stronger position than New Zealand, who hosted a very successful tournament in 2011.

"I'm reasonably familiar with New Zealand at the present time and they had a successful world cup and based on that, we have a lot more to offer in terms of stadia, hospitality and the experience of the tourism industry," he said.

"From Ireland's point of view, we stay on the positives and at the end of the day we can convince people that we can have a successful world cup, it will be good for World Rugby, it will make money for the world board and it's Ireland's turn.

"There are good relationships built already. There will be some horse trading at the end of the day."

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