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Ireland plan to enter World Cup bid

Mon, 18 Nov 2013 18:11
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The World Cup would be a symbol of how far we have come
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Ireland’s minister of transport, tourism and sport Leo Varadkar will seek approval from cabinet on Tuesday to bid to host the 2023 World Cup.

Varadkar expressed his hopes for Ireland to host the global showpiece at an International Rugby Board conference in Dublin on Monday.

"I think Ireland is very well placed to host the Rugby World Cup," Varadkar said.

"The next step for me is to go to cabinet tomorrow [Tuesday] and to seek authorisation with a view to putting together the bid.

"It's probably the biggest event a country like Ireland could do, we're too small for the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup and for that reason it would engender enormous national pride.

“Rugby in Ireland has always been a unifying force. The IRFU [Ireland Rugby Football Union] wasn’t partitioned when the country split and rugby has always been supported by people who are Catholic and people who are Protestants and people who are neither of these.

“Even during difficult times, the Troubles, rugby was a unifying force. One thing I remember very much was when rugby was played for the very first time in Croke Park, the main national GAA stadium. They have already expressed their support for a bid.

“We had the first time England played Ireland in Croke Park [in 2007] and people were worried about what would happen, but the national anthem [England's] was applauded. I think the World Cup would be a symbol of how far we have come.”

South African Rugby Union Chief Executive Jurie Roux in May said South Africa were also planning a bid to host the 2023 World Cup.

England will host the next World Cup in 2015 before Japan play host to rugby’s elite in 2019.

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