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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 3 August, 2020

Four countries likely to rival Ireland's 2023 Rugby World Cup bid

We take a look at who Ireland will be battling it out with to host the 2023 tournament.

The FNB Stadium, Johannesburg: South Africa are likely to be one of Ireland's major rivals.
The FNB Stadium, Johannesburg: South Africa are likely to be one of Ireland's major rivals.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

WITH IRELAND’S BID for the 2023 Rugby World Cup now formally declared we take a look at the other potential hosts to succeed Japan’s 2019 tournament.

South Africa

Jurie Roux, chief executive of South Africa Rugby, revealed back in May that the Springboks would bid to bring the 2023 tournament back down south.

South Africa have not hosted the tournament since 1995 — one of the most fondly remembered tournaments as the Springboks not only won on home soil but Nelson Mandela appeared on the pitch during the final at Ellis Park, helping to unify a nation that had only recently seen an end to apartheid.

As well as the nostalgic side of the bid the country would be well equipped to host the tournament thanks to the abundance of stadia built as a result of hosting the 2010 football World Cup.


With the announcement after the 2007 World Cup that single country hosts would now be a preference for future tournaments Argentina could certainly fill that mould.

A rapidly growing rugby population that now comprises of 100,000 registered players, half of whom are under the age of 10, means that rugby will be hugely popular in the country by the time 2023 comes around.

On top of that Argentina have a number of stadiums capable of hosting matches, thanks to the soccer-mad public within the country. Seven Argentinian stadiums can house over 40,000 people with the largest, that being the home of River Plate, capable of a capacity of 67,000.


France would be considered an outside bet for the tournament having just hosted a world cup in 2007. The tournament was a memorable one with France upsetting the All Blacks and Argentina’s surprise run to the semi-finals standing out as highlights.

However, the fact that games during that tournament were played in Scotland and Wales, as well as France, may be something that stands against them due to the IRB’s new preference for single country hosts.


The Italians tried, and failed, to host the 2015 edition of the tournament and look set to make another attempt.

Part of the plan is to refurbish eight football stadiums in an attempt to impress the IRB facility-wise. If the bid is successful it could see Italy host the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics in consecutive years as Rome looks likely to bid to host the 2024 summer games.

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