Which Leinster stadiums have a chance of inclusion in a 2023 Rugby World Cup bid?

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Which Leinster stadiums have a chance of inclusion in a 2023 Rugby World Cup bid?
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Which Leinster stadiums have a chance of inclusion in a 2023 Rugby World Cup bid?

We’re still 10 years away from the 2023 Rugby World Cup but if Ireland is serious about hosting the tournament, we will need to show we have the stadiums to do so.

Yesterday we too a look at six of the major candidates in Munster and today we turn our attention to the east of the country. Leinster has a number of quality stadiums, with Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium standing out as the two obvious choices.

The GAA can provide a range of options across the province, so here are six of the strongest options in Leinster:

The Portlaoise ground has a capacity of 27,000 and is home to the Laois football and hurling teams. With one stand under cover, O’Moore Park is a little more exposed to the elements than others but the pitch is regarded as excellent. Changing facilities have also been met with approval in recent times.

The stadium is just an hour away from Dublin, making it ideal for teams who are located in the capital.

©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

RDS Arena

Leinster’s home ground is an obvious choice for pool games, with a capacity of 18,000 meaning the lesser-profile games would fit here comfortably. The Grandstand was rebuilt in 2006, with a sloping roof added for the 2008/09 season. Plans were announced last year to boost the Arena’s capacity to 23,000 as well as to sell the naming rights to the highest bidder.

Located in Ballsbridge close to Dublin’s city centre, the RDS would be an excellent World Cup venue.

©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Nowlan Park

The famous home of many a Kilkenny hurling victory might be opening its doors to rugby in 2023, given the 24,000 capacity. Nowlan Park has already hosted some huge concerts in recent years, including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and James Taylor.

There is currently seating space for 17,000 people, but plans are afoot to increase the capacity of the Kilkenny ground to 40,000.

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Aviva Stadium

It hasn’t been a happy home for Irish rugby since 2010, but the Aviva would play a key part in any Irish bid. With a fully-seated capacity of almost 52,000, as well as world-class facilities for teams and media alike, the Lansdowne Road address would be a strong candidate to host the highest-profile pool games, as well as a quarter-final or two.

Whether Ireland would want to play their own games at the Aviva remains to be seen.

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Wexford Park

With a current capacity of 25,000, the Clonard stadium would be another of the GAA’s donations to the World Cup bid. However, in its present state, Wexford’s home would need some redevelopment and a set floodlights. Still, if it is size of stadium that Ireland’s bid is concerned about, Wexford Park could fit the bill.

©INPHO/James Crombie

Croke Park

The pièce de résistance in Ireland’s potential bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. With a capacity of 82,300, Croke Park is the fourth largest stadium in Europe. It would be the venue for the final and semi-finals if Ireland are successful in their bid. The fact that the capital-based stadium is the home of GAA would give an extra power to the unifying effect of a World Cup in Ireland.

A world-class stadium that deserves to be seen by the rest of the world.

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Tomorrow TheScore.ie will examine the stadiums in Ulster that may be included.

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