'It is probably the biggest tournament we're capable of hosting' - O'Driscoll

Brian O’Driscoll has been helping out with Ireland’s Rugby World Cup 2023 bid.

THESE ARE HEADY days for Irish rugby.

They play the All-Blacks in a much-anticipated clash this weekend at the Aviva, two weeks on from that historic victory in over the southern hemisphere giants in Chicago.

More good news: yesterday the IRFU released some details on venues for the country’s Rugby World Cup 2023 bid.

Philip Browne and Brian O'Driscoll Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll enjoyed plenty of big days in green and now he’s a key part of Ireland’s RWC 2023 board.

The former Leinster, Ireland and Lions centre believes the World Cup would be the biggest global tournament we could stage on the island.

“(It) is probably the biggest tournament we’re capable of hosting,” said O’Driscoll. “We’re not going to get an Olympics, we won’t get a soccer World Cup, this is definitely where we’d probably max out, but we could do a phenomenal job at it, I really think that.

“North and south, understanding all the work that’s gone into getting to this point, we don’t want to deliver an okay tournament. We want to deliver a tournament that will send people away thinking ‘that’s been an improvement on the last one’.

“Japan will have their work cut out on delivering better than (England), but the difference in Ireland would be no one will talk about anything else in the six months build up to the tournament, the seven weeks of the tournament, and the aftermath as well.

“I am sitting at board meetings and I am understanding particularly between the north-south, two governments dealing with one another.

“But I can’t say anything other than positive things about how much both governments want to embrace this and how they see it as a great thing for Ireland.”

Philip Browne, Brian O'Driscoll and Dick Spring Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

O’Driscoll believes the Irish love for sport would see the entire country embrace the tournament, should the bid be successful.

“As much as we’re probably not as fanatical about rugby as New Zealand, we’re fanatical about sport. We’ve got people who love a sport, but more often than not they like or love a second sport.

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“That makes us slightly unique. I think the selling point is people love coming to Ireland because of the welcome they get. I think throughout the country, you would have people adopt second countries as well, whether it’s Tonga, Samoa…as they saw back in the Special Olympics back in 2003 – people embracing a tournament of an even bigger magnitude.”

Are we capable of winning the tournament as hosts?

“We have got a very good squad at the moment,” he continued, “we have a great coaching ticket – next time is always the best time to get to a semi-final. And the home advantage you would have to add a huge advantage to it.

“I don’t want to discount what you are saying but if we didn’t manage to do it (reach the semi-finals) in Japan  and we got the World Cup 2023, it would absolutely help our cause. But I am a glass half-full sorta person so I hope we will already have gotten to a semi-final by 2023.”

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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