FORMER IRELAND INTERNATIONAL Hugo MacNeill was today confirmed as chair of the cross-border working group established to help bring the 2023 Rugby World Cup to Ireland.
The appointment was announced following a meeting between Mr MacNeill and Northern Ireland’s Minister of Enterprise, Trade & Investment Arlene Foster and Minister of Culture, Arts & Leisure Carál Ní Chuilín.
MacNeill played 37 times for Ireland between 1981 and 1988, scoring ten times. He played in the first Rugby World Cup in 1987, four years after being selected for the Lions tour of New Zealand where he played in three of four matches against the Kiwis.
He has since gone on to have a successful career in business. He is currently managing director of Goldman Sachs in Ireland as well as Chairman of the Irish Chapter of the Ireland Funds and Chairman of the British Irish Association.
The Rugby World Cup Working Group will comprise representatives from north and south from government departments, agencies and other key bodies. It will examine some key issues to assist the two Governments in their decision on whether to bid, set out a roadmap for a potential bid and will report back this summer.
Speaking after MacNeill’s role in the bid was confirmed, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Leo Varadkar said: “I’m delighted that Hugo MacNeill has agreed to chair the working group to examine the potential of a Rugby World Cup bid by Ireland.
“Hugo is an ideal appointment and will bring his knowledge of the rugby world, north-south relations, and his experience in business to bear on the work of the group.
“Hosting the Rugby World Cup is a very exciting prospect but there is a lot of work to do before we make a decision on whether to lodge our bid.”