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Rugby World Cup 2021 – IRFU Reaction

Rugby World Cup 2021 – IRFU Reaction

Ireland players during the 2020 Women's Six Nations game against Italy at Energia Park. ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

World Rugby this evening made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year.

The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.

World Rugby confirmed that the recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape.

It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.

The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions.

IRFU Director of Women’s Rugby, Anthony Eddy, confirmed that World Rugby’s decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021 has the support of Irish Rugby.

“We’re obviously disappointed.” said Eddy. “We want to play rugby.

The Rugby World Cup deserves every opportunity to showcase the best that our sport has to offer and that’s not possible in the COVID-19 environment.

“We have always put player welfare at the heart of everything we do and that’s never been as important as it has over the past 12 months.

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Looking ahead Eddy said the squad will continue to focus, “We were preparing really well and that will stand to us. We’ll maintain that focus into the 2021 Women’s Six Nations.”