Former Ireland International Says Rating Ireland An Equal Security Risk To SA Is Crazy
Former Ireland international Hugo McNeil has heavily criticised World Rugby’s technical review which recommended South Africa host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, with France in second and Ireland last.
Speaking on Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1, MacNeill questioned a number of assertions made in the report, including the security rating.
MacNeill says it’s absolute madness to suggest Ireland and South Africa are an equal security risk, especially when you see Ireland and South Africa are ranked 10th and 123rd respectively on the World Peace Index.
“Ranking Ireland as an equal security risk to South Africa just seems crazy. The World Peace Index – which is the most respected index on security issues – ranks Ireland as the 10th safest country in the world, France as the 51st safest country in the world, and South Africa is the 123rd safest country in the world.”
He also questioned how the report failed to address how South Africa will fill the stadiums, something that was also put forward to World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper by Ireland.
“96% of the difference in the marks – when we broke down and analysed it – were down to two things: stadiums and prior hosting experience.
“On the stadiums, it all seemed to be about having big modern stadiums. But in stadiums in World Cups, there’s two elements and the second is equally important. And that’s the ability to fill them.
“I played in the first World Cup in 1987 and we played Wales in Wellington and I’ll never forget the moment running out on the field.
“And I spoke to Jonathan Davies and Ieuan Evans this week – who were both incredulous about the outcome – and it was like we ran out on the field and we thought we were an hour early. Because there was no one there. The stadium was half full. And it was such a downer.
“The reasons why the filling of the stadia is so important because it has such an impact on the whole tournament.”
A decision on who will host the 2023 showpiece event will be made this Wednesday.