Friday, December 21, 2012

Mark Egan says Argentina can host a Rugby World Cup

Mark Egan
One of Argentina´s largest newspapers published an interview today with the IRB´s Head of Rugby Services, Mark Egan. The Irishman told La Nacion that the IRB is enthusiastic with the growth that it is seeing in a number of countries.

The IRB is very pleased with the growth of rugby in Brazil and, in Egan´s words, is very optimistic. Egan also mentioed that he is seeing growth in Mexico, Ecuador and El Salvador. What has taken place is that many countries have emerged and now that rugby is an Olympic sport the potential is far greater than what would have been considered possible less than a decade ago.

So much so that the IRB´s decision to award Rugby World Cup 2011 to New Zealand and not Japan was made in 2005. While the 2011 tournament was very well hosted and was a tremendous success it did not contribute to the growth of rugby from a regional or global perspective. 

Having Rugby World Cup 2023 return to a previous host would be a tremendous step backwards. As argued in the book, the sport has reached a stage when the correct decisions must be made. A failure to do so could significantly hold back the expansion of the global game. A Rugby World Cup in Japan will have a significant spill-over impact on the sport in Asia while Argentina hosting in 2023 would mean the same thing for rugby throughout the Americas.

Egan was asked by Alejandro Casar Gonzalez of La Nacion if it is possible to host a Rugby World Cup in South America and Egan responded by saying definitely, there is an opportunity. He also pointed out that the impact of the Olympic Games in Brazil will be enormous for the region.

Furthermore, Egan stated that the World Cup is a very sophisticated event, and is the main financial organ of the IRB. The commercial return of the World Cup, in his words, needs to be maximized and Argentina has sufficient infrastructure to host the tournament.

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