Judith Cochrane MLA said: “I am fully supportive of the All-Ireland bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023. I think it would be absolutely fantastic if the world’s best rugby players were to take part in the world cup at our local stadiums. As a keen Ulster and Ireland fan, I think this would be a tremendous boost for the sport at all levels. I am sure it would inspire the next generation of Ulster and Ireland stars if our young people were able to watch the All Blacks, Springboks and others at the Kingspan Stadium. Furthermore, the potential use of a number of GAA venues would be a demonstration of the continued cross-community appeal of rugby.
“The recent successes of the Irish Open, Giro d’Italia and World Police and Fire Games have shown that we can host international sporting events. New Zealand hosted the last world cup and showed that you don’t have to be a big country like Australia or England to host this event.
“It would be an outstanding advertisement for Northern Ireland and put us on the world stage for all the right reasons. It is great to see such widespread backing for the campaign to host the tournament and I will do whatever I can to support the bid.”