It is now common knowledge that the IRFU, as well as the governments of both the Republic and Northern Ireland are working on a plan to submit a bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
The two biggest sporting events ever to be hosted in Ireland are the 2003 Special Olympics and the 2006 Ryder Cup. Both these events were viewed as great successes. However, the Special Olympics only lasted eight days, while the Ryder Cup lasted for just under a week.
To host the Rugby World Cup, Ireland would have to take on a task, the likes of which it has never seen before. To give an example, the next RWC will be held in England in 2015. Visitors from 20 countries will be landing in 11 cities all across England and Wales, to witness an event lasting a month and a half. 13 state of the art stadia will be used throughout the tournament, ranging in capacity from 16,500 (Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester) to 90,000 (Wembley Stadium, London).
The problem for the IRFU is that in order to host the tournament in 2023, solely in Ireland, with no games being played in a joint host country, would be to get full participation from the GAA.
Nine of the ten biggest stadia in Ireland are owned by the GAA. The only stadium in the top ten, is the Aviva Stadium, which is part owned by the IRFU. The only problem with these stadia, is that the majority of their capacity crowds, come from terraced stands. To host a successful international tournament, all stadiums would need to be fully seated.
The stadia which would be recommended in the bid, as well as the infrastructure surrounding them would need to be greatly improved.
It will not be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, but with a lot of work put in over the next ten years, it is definitely a possibility.