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'Ireland's ability to host is second to none. It would be an unbelievable place to have a World Cup'

Former England coach Stuart Lancaster has backed Ireland’s bid to stage the 2023 World Cup.

STUART LANCASTER, THE former England head coach who was part of his country’s successful bid to stage the 2015 Rugby World Cup, says Ireland ‘would be an unbelievable place’ to host the tournament in six years.

The Ireland bid delegation, fronted by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, this morning delivered its final 30-minute presentation to World Rugby Council in London as the race to stage the 2023 tournament hots up.

Brian O'Driscoll, Philip Browne, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Dick Sprin, Shane Ross TD and David Sterling The Ireland bid party at today's presentation in London. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Liam Neeson, Bono and Bob Geldof all featured in the Irish presentation as British Prime Minister publicly backed the bid by writing to World Cup organisers reaffirming their support.

And Lancaster, who has lived in Dublin for the past 12 months in his role as Leinster senior coach, says Ireland have presented an incredibly strong bid as they go up against France and South Africa.

“100% confident and having lived here for a year, I think it would be an unbelievable place to hold a World Cup,” he said.

“I was involved in the lead up to the England bid and over the four years in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup and being there during the World Cup, there’s no doubt in my mind Ireland can do an equally good job.

“The key thing I think is you’ve got all parties aligned and all wanting to achieve things together. In England it was the soccer stadiums, the government, the RFU and the public. The will of the country wanted it to work and I think when you’ve got that as a collective.

“When I look now at Ireland’s bid, you’ve got the government, the IRFU, the GAA, the country. You’ve got such a strong powerful case for a World Cup in Ireland and for me coming from the outside and being involved in watching some of the sporting events in Ireland; whether it be the Six Nations, the big European games we’ve played in in the Aviva. I went to the All-Ireland hurling final at Croke Park, I mean it’s an unbelievable stadium and the ability of Ireland to put on sporting events is second to none really.

“And you add on the spectator experience, I mean is there a better country to come and have a rugby experience and social experience? I don’t think there is to be honest.

Stuart Lancaster Lancaster was head coach when England hosted the 2015 World Cup. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“In fact I was speaking to a taxi driver the other day, I was going to the airport and I said to him ‘when you take people to the airport, how many say actually Dublin or Ireland didn’t live up to expectations?’ He said in 15 years not one has ever said that, they’ve all said they’ve had an unbelievable time.

“I’m 100% behind it and it would be brilliant for the country. They’d do a great job.”

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World Rugby chiefs will make a final decision on who will host the 2023 event in London on 15 November  after a technical report is released with a recommendation on 31 October. The winner needs 20 votes, with 39 available.

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