Ireland's RWC bid officials ready to counter France 2023 ’mobilisation’

Ireland’s Rugby World Cup 2023 bid officials are confident they can counter any attempts by rivals France to hijack this Saturday’s Six Nations clash between the two countries at Aviva Stadium.

The French officially launched their own bid to stage the 2023 tournament in Paris a fortnight ago, promising a “massive mobilisation” of French rugby to win the World Rugby Council vote to host the event this November. They plan to further their campaign this weekend by having all their national teams wear #France 2023 logos on their jerseys during the games in their rivals’ backyard with the women’s teams and U20s also playing in Dublin, at Donnybrook.

Les Bleus wore the 2023 logos for the first time on February 12 in their home game with Scotland at Stade de France but taking them into the heartland of a bid competitor this weekend represents a major ramping up of their message delivery.

South Africa are also in the running to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup and like the French, in 2007, have already hosted the tournament, winning on home soil in 1995. The IRFU, governing body for the sport on the island of Ireland, successfully launched its bid with the backing of both the Irish Government and Northern Ireland executive, last November, seeking to capitalise on the international attention associated with the visit of world champions New Zealand to Dublin a fortnight after Joe Schmidt’s side had beaten the All Blacks in Chicago.

Bid spokesman Stephen McNamara told the Irish Examiner that Ireland 2023’s communications strategy has been to maintain a presence at key events on the calendar and the home bid had not been caught on the hop by their French rivals.

“Ireland’s two home fixtures in the RBS 6 Nations Championship have long been identified and targeted as such,” McNamara, IRFU director of communications said.

“TV viewers and fans at the Aviva Stadium for the home fixtures against France and England, will see the next phase of our messaging, which includes some appropriate team related activation, digital advertising during the match, inserts in the match programme and the inclusion of the Liam Neeson narrated video ‘Ready for the World’, as part of the in-stadium entertainment. This programme of activity has been planned since pre-Christmas.

“While we remain focused on our own bid and promoting Ireland 2023 as a tournament like no other, we respect the rights of our fellow Host Candidate Unions, France and South Africa to mount campaigns they deem appropriate.”

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