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IRFU reiterates Taoiseach's defiant message - the Ireland 2023 bid is still alive

“Ireland’s team will compete to the final whistle as we bid to turn our historic bid plans into reality.”

Leo Varadkar and Dick Spring.
Leo Varadkar and Dick Spring.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IN THE WAKE of comments made by South Africa Rugby CEO Jurie Roux, the IRFU has once again reiterated its commitment to competing for the 2023 World Cup until the final vote later this month.

The World Rugby technical review group unanimously identified South Africa as its preferred candidate to host the tournament and Roux suggested both Ireland and France should step out of the race.

Speaking in Seattle earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar insisted the Irish bid is still alive and in a statement this afternoon, Dick Spring, chairman of the Ireland bid oversight board, rebutted any suggestion that Ireland should now step aside.

“While it is not surprising to hear such innuendo, it is totally inappropriate,” Spring said.

“There is in place a democratic process, whereby the council members of World Rugby, through their vote, are the ultimate arbitrators of who will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. To undermine this process in any way does a disservice to the entire structure.

“The recent evaluation report has stated categorically that ‘any of the three candidates could host a successful World Cup’. We continue to believe, as the report has confirmed and many others across the World Rugby firmament believe, that Ireland, as a new host, offers the best option for the tournament in 2023, truly a tournament like no other.

“Ireland is now in dialogue with its many friends throughout world rugby and their initial response to us has been one of surprise at the evaluation report and its findings.

“As we have previously stated Ireland’s team will compete to the final whistle as we bid to turn our historic bid plans into reality.”

World Rugby Council will vote in London on Wednesday 15 November.

- Originally published at 15.30

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