Ireland are in the early stages of piecing together a bid for the 2023 World Cup, although their challenge may be undermined by the fact that the next two global gatherings, in England in 2015 and Japan four years later, will be northern hemisphere affairs. It is thought South Africa, who hosted the tournament to great acclaim 18 years ago, will be major contenders.
The Irish Sports Minister, Leo Varadkar, told delegates at an International Rugby Board conference in Dublin that he would seek support from government colleagues next week. “It’s probably the biggest even a country like Ireland could do: we’re too small for the Olympics and the football World Cup,” he said. “For that reason, it would engender enormous national pride. The second thing is that even during the very difficult times of the Troubles, rugby was a unifying sport. It would be a symbol of how far we’ve come, from the bad times to the better times.”
Gloucester, struggling for results this season, have suffered a serious injury setback in losing the experienced wing James Simpson-Daniel and the gifted young playmaker Ryan Mills for the foreseeable future. Both require surgery after suffering ankle and foot injuries respectively during last weekend’s Anglo-Welsh Cup victory over Newcastle.