Ireland has been selected to host the 2021 ITF Tag Rugby World Cup, thus becoming the first-ever northern hemisphere nation to do so.
It was announced on Wednesday that the University of Limerick would hold the fourth-ever iteration of the competition in August 2021, with City and County Mayor James Collins saying that the college was tailor-made for such an event.
“We have the rugby DNA, the hospitality and warmth and UL provide outstanding facilities so the mix was perfect and the bid equally so,” he said.
Ireland has found success in the World Cup before, with Wicklow-native sisters Leanne and Kayleigh Sullivan having been part of the Women’s Open team that claimed bronze in Australia in 2018.
Speaking to WicklowNews, Leanne said that she was overjoyed with the news, and that it demonstrated the growth of the sport in Ireland.
“It is incredible that we have been selected to host,” she said.
“The game is growing at a massive rate. So having the World Cup here will bring such coverage to the game. Hopefully Kayleigh and I will be selected again to represent Ireland.”
Ireland defeated Vietnam and Lebanon on the way to the third-place prize last time out, and Leanne believes that they can go one step further in 2021.
“[I am] 100% hopeful. We were a fairly new team together. So I know that with more cohesion as a team, and drafting new talent, we can be really successful.”
Ireland fended off stiff competition from the likes of Great Britain to host the competition, which will see over 3,000 players, and over 20 nations, travel to Limerick.
Previous editions of the World Cup have all been held in the southern hemisphere — New Zealand in 2012, and Australia in 2015 and 2018 — with 2021 representing a massive step forward for the tournament and the sport itself.
Stuart McConnell, chairman of the International Tag Federation, said: “The International Tag Federation are extremely proud to have announced Ireland as the host country for the World Cup 2021.
“The International Tag Federation looks forward to partnering with the Irish Tag Rugby Association and the University of Limerick in delivering the fourth World Cup and the first Tag World Cup in the Northern Hemisphere.”