Now pursuing a career outside of rugby as an investment and wealth manager with Investec, D’Arcy yesterday pledged to put his weight behind Ireland’s bid. The 84-times capped icon hailed the cross-border agreement, on top of the excellent relationship between the rugby authorities and the GAA, to bring the tournament to Ireland.
“The availability of the number of grounds required to launch a serious bid for the World Cup is of huge importance. We have to look at sport nowadays from the holistic side of things and the bigger picture and it’s about participation.
“This [latest cooperation] will be great for GAA and great for rugby. It will be a showcase for the country if we can get the World Cup to Ireland, a showcase in an incredibly huge worldwide market. It’s not so much just about having Croke Park available, but [it is] also about other many regional stadiums and communities that would benefit from an involvement in a Rugby World Cup; there will be money pumped into making those stadiums better, it is a very virtuous situation, a win-win situation really.”
France and South Africa are also bidding to host the tournament, but D’Arcy believes Ireland has every right to be in the mix.
“Without taking anything for granted, I think Ireland can get it and that Ireland deserves to get it as much as New Zealand deserved to get it last time around. We’re a small country, but we have demonstrated that we can host it; there’s nothing there that can’t be overcome. You’re looking at a tourism-friendly country, for starters, and I believe the Irish public will get fully behind it.
“I believe, for instance, that if you have a game between the likes of [less heralded rugby nations, such as] Fiji and Romania, there will be a full stadium, because towns will get behind it. We will put on an Irish World Cup to make everyone proud.” D’Arcy was at Cork’s Clayton Hotel for a breakfast meeting yesterday with business leaders. He was in the company of fellow sportsman David Whelan, an Irish champion Brazilian jiu jitsu fighter. Both work in the corporate world — Phelan works as a practice leader with Accreate — and are hoping to bring their expertise into the next phase of their careers.
“Many of the traits needed to succeed in sports are similar to those needed to succeed in business, as well. That includes goal-setting, confidence, discipline, and leadership skills,” said Niamh Cornally of event organisers Morgan McKinley.
“Success in sports comes as a result of very careful planning, and setting and reaching many small goals along the way. It also means having strong self-belief and confidence, because, while reaching the top can be hard, staying there can even more difficult.”
Meanwhile, Connacht’s Ben Marshall has been forced to retire from professional rugby following a concussion injury.
The 26-year-old second-row/back-row forward, who joined Connacht Rugby at the start of the 2015/16 season, said: “Unfortunately, my time as a player has come to an end earlier than I would have wished. It has been a difficult time not being able to play since the injury, but having had some time away from the game, I can appreciate how fortunate I’ve also been in my career, so, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Connacht head physio Garrett Coughlan and the medical team who have given me wonderful care and support over the past eleven months. I am looking forward to continuing in my financial studies and the new career path that is ahead of me, but I will always be appreciative of the lessons that Willie [Ruane] and Pat [Lam] taught me during my time at Connacht Rugby.”