Australia should have World Cup chance: O'Driscoll

Rugby World Cup
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Test legend Brian O’Driscoll is confident Ireland will have a chance to host a World Cup one day, and says Australia should throw its hat in the ring again..

France, the most financially lucrative bid, was a shock winner of the 2023 Rugby World Cup host vote, just two weeks after South Africa was recommended as host in a World Rugby-commissioned report.

Ireland finished third on both counts, leading to questions over the days of smaller nations with less revenue potential for rugby around the world would become perpetual victims of the process.

O'Driscoll said he would encourage Australia to throw its hat in the ring for a second World Cup, adamant Ireland would have its day despite having less financial clout.

"If I was Australia I'd be putting my hand up pretty soon," he said.

"They've done it before. Look at France...repeat World Cups in 16 years."

The former Ireland centre lamented the fact that this generation of Ireland players would be unlikely to have the chance to experience a home World Cup.

“It's not just a shame for those players but it's a shame for the country because we know we will embrace it like you've never seen," he said.

“There'll be a time when Ireland will host a World Cup.

“There'll have to be because we've put our best foot forward and shown we're capable of doing it and we were a viable option this time around, so we've got to be selected at some point.”

French Rugby president Bernard Laporte celebrates winning the 2023 Rugby World Cup bid. Photo: AFPIRFU CEO Philip Browne said the chances of smaller nations with less financial weight would continue to be overlooked was up to World Rugby.

“World Rugby and Rugby World Cup need to decide what tournament they want,” he said.

“There’s the commercial imperative but it shouldn’t be everything and Ireland has, why should we not have a tournament,

“We can run a tournament perfectly well, create significant revenues and we showed we could produce significant revenues.”

While Browne said it was too early to consider whether Ireland would bid again, after a six-year project to make it to Wednesday’s vote before receiving just eight votes.

O’Driscoll, who was the Ireland Rugby bid ambassador, questioned the need for such a long gap between the recommendation and the final vote, a period that gave France and Ireland the chance to complain about the recommendation, though was quick to say he wasn’t speaking with resentment about Ireland missing out.

IRFU chief Philip Browne has written a letter of complaint over the Rugby World Cup recommendation. Photo: AFP“I don't know why we waited two weeks for it (the vote),” he said.

“Did that have some bearing on it? Undoubtedly and an opportunity to re-convince certain nations, which we didn't have before.

“There are holes in the report undoubtedly but I'm very conscious of not being seen (to be complaining about that) - we came third of three and I have no problem with that.

“I think the fact that the evaluation report said one nation should host it and the one that finished three points behind managed to get it does say there's something to be done, some questions to be answered on that.”

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont dismissed the suggestion the international body was humiliated by the process, with the majority of World Rugby Council members rejecting the initial recommendation.

Japan will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup, before France takes the job for 2023, opening up the door for a Southern Hemisphere nation to possibly have a look-in in 2027.