State support crucial to Irish Rugby World Cup bid in 2023, says Bill Beaumont

RFU chairman says hosting tournament also requires partners from other sports

Former Lions and England captain Bill Beaumont said that getting full government support and building strong partnerships with the GAA and other sporting bodies would be the key to a successful bid by the IRFU to stage the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

Beaumont, who is chairman of the Rugby Football Union which will host the tournament next September and October, said that they learned key things from the time they started their bidding process.

He has been a member of the International Rugby Board since 1999, and said that mounting a bid or hosting the tournament would not work unless the government of the country was 100 per cent behind the venture.

It was announced yesterday at the IRB World Cup conference in London that next year's tournament would generate £2.2 billion of output into the economy, which would add up to £982 million of value to the national GDP.


Grown enormously

Beaumont, speaking to more than 600 delegates from all over the world, said the Rugby World Cup had grown enormously even in the time since England decided to launch a bid to host it.

“The one thing we learned was that you have to get government support behind you, there is no doubt about it.

“And I think you also have to engage with and make partners from other sports because you need other stadia.

"Ireland is not dissimilar to England and we don't have that many rugby stadia which are capable of holding more than 20-25,000 people, and the funds that are involved now, you have to have stadia which have far greater capacities.

“I have no doubt that is what they will be doing and that would be my advice but you have got to keep very close to the government because in most instances they help in the guarantee of what the IRB want.”

He added that the World Cup would continue to grow and by 2023 or beyond would be vastly different to what will take place next year.

He said what astonished them from the time they started their bid to the stage they were at now was just how huge the tournament had become.

“You just don’t realise how big it is. It is the third biggest global event. We are used to big events but you just don’t realise the scale of what this is worldwide, and in eight or nine years time it is going to be even bigger. It is growing all the time and that has to be taken into account.”

Next year’s tournament will be the biggest in history when it takes place over 44 days at 13 venues.

Around £85 million has been invested in infrastructure, including a £7 m illion redevelopment of Twickenham, which will host the final on October 31st.

Irish campaign

Ireland, who will have four team bases, will open their World Cup campaign against Canada at the Millennium Stadium on September 19th, before taking on Romania at Wembley eight days later, Italy at the Olympic Stadium on October 4th, and the crunch tie against France in Cardiff seven days later.