Rugby Bid Decision Day

We will know the answer to who will stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup Finals at around 1 pm today.

A little over two weeks ago we were convinced that this was going to be one of the biggest days ever in Irish sport with the world of Rugby deciding that we would be the name called out.

After a negative independent assessors report though, which placed us third across a range of criteria behind South Africa and France, that optimism has evaporated.

They have a big screen erected in Pretoria and cameras ready to record the joyful faces of celebrating South Africans should the vote go as appears to be most likely.

We don’t have a big screen set up so what will Sky News do if we do come through the last minute lobbying and emerge victorious?

The decision will be made by a secret ballot cast by eighteen individuals over the course of this morning in London.

Between them, they are responsible for the 39 votes that are at stake.

England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia all have three votes.

Oceania, South America, North America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Japan have two.

Canada, the USA, Georgia and Romania hold the remaining four.

The winner will be decided by one of the three bid nations securing twenty votes. If that does not happen after the first ballot the team that comes third will be eliminated and a second ballot will be taken. After that one will emerge as the host and set off on a journey of preparation that will hast the best part of six years.

It could be us. Stranger things by far have happened in secret ballots and there still appears to be a well of goodwill towards Ireland which may yet overcome the colder technical analysis.

Remember nobody said that we couldn’t stage a tournament of this scale, just that the other two presented fewer technical holes to be filled.

If it happens it will be even more exciting for being unexpected after two weeks of soul searching.

Whatever happens, we will react graciously and likely not make any decision as to whether we go again in the process to host the 2027 tournament. That will be for another day and another round of partnership building across the many who have contributed to this bid.

There is little to be done once the doors close on the meeting of the World Rugby Council other than wait. That’s what we will do.

See you on the other side.

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