Ireland looks set to miss out on hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup after a World Rugby technical review group cited concerns over the quality of proposed stadia for the national rugby union team tournament as a major issue with the nation’s bid.
Ireland put forward a bid along with France and South Africa and was tipped by many to land hosting rights to the contest. However, it was recently revealed that World Rugby, the sport’s global governing body, had opted to endorse the South African bid.
The World Rugby technical review group ranked Ireland’s bid 72.25 out of 100, the lowest of the three, with France scoring 75.88 and South Africa 78.97. The group assed each bid on five key criteria: vision and hosting concept, tournament organisation and schedule, venues and host cities, tournament infrastructure and financial, commercial and commitment.
According to the report, although Ireland’s bid scored well in some areas, it fell some way behind in terms of stadium infrastructure, which World Rugby said is one of the key aspects of any successful bid.
The report singled out Pearse Stadium, Fitzgerald Stadium and Pairc Ui Chaoimh (pictured) as Irish venues that required a lot of work in order to make them ready to stage Rugby World Cup matches. The review group also said that Casement Park is still awaiting planning approval.
Quoting from the report, RTE said: “The amount of upgrade work required introduces complexity and therefore a significant risk factor that is not is not inherent in the other two bids.
“Parc Ui Chaoimh (complete August 2017), Pearse Stadium and Fitzgerald Stadium require a significant level of overlay which is flagged as a risk, given the amount of work required to bring these venues up to RWC standard.
“Casement Park is scheduled for redevelopment by 2020 and will also require a significant level of overlay. At time of writing, we understand that this venue is still subject to final planning approval.”
Image: Hywell Williams