Wednesday 21 February 2018

O'Driscoll captains heavyweight team for Ireland's 2023 World Cup bid

Brian O'Driscoll was unveiled as the IRFU's bid ambassador for their attempt to host the 2023 World Cup in Ireland
Brian O'Driscoll was unveiled as the IRFU's bid ambassador for their attempt to host the 2023 World Cup in Ireland
David Kelly

David Kelly

Brian O'Driscoll never got the chance to lift the World Cup as a player but he may still get the chance to boost Ireland's hopes of hosting the tournament in 2023.

The IRFU are pinning their hopes on the retired playing legend after unveiling him as their bid ambassador for their ambitious attempt to host the 2023 tournament in Ireland.

A day after landing the 2017 Women's World Cup, the IRFU yesterday stepped up their challenge to bring what is arguably the third biggest sporting event in the planet to Ireland.

In conjunction with the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, the IRFU have announced the appointment of a chairman, vice-chairman and a number of board members to the Oversight Board for Ireland's 2023 Rugby World Cup Bid.

They draw heavily from the political, business and sporting worlds and underline the reliance on the all-Ireland approach to the bid, as well as the requirement to use a number of GAA grounds in support of the bid, with Croke Park in line to host the semi-finals and final if the bid is successful.

Former Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dick Spring, who played rugby for Munster and Ireland, as well as wearing the green and gold for Kerry, will be chairman of the Board.

Joining him is businessman Dr David Dobbin as vice-chairman, while there are also crucial roles for GAA director-general Páraic Duffy, former international Hugo MacNeill and Ulster Rugby CEO Shane Logan.

"This is a very exciting opportunity for Ireland and we will leave no stone unturned in putting together a world-class case for Ireland," said IRFU CEO Philip Browne. South Africa, the early favourites, Italy and France have all joined Ireland in publicly announcing their aim to land the 2023 global gathering, while the United States could yet join those ranks.

World Rugby officially opened up the bidding process yesterday, although the winning bid will not be revealed until May 2017.

The Irish Government will underwrite the expected €120m fee should the bid be successful while the bid process will cost €1.5m.

Irish Independent

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