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Irish set to bid to host Rugby World Cup 2023

Croke Park, which holds 82,300, will be put forward as a potential venue. Credit: PA

An all-Ireland bid to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup is set to be officially unveiled.

Officials from the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) will tomorrow join representatives from the Northern Ireland Executive and Irish government to outline their ambition to jointly host the sport's showpiece event.

Both administrations have been engaged in a preliminary assessment exercise over the last 10 months to weigh up the feasibility of submitting an official bid.

In February former Irish international star Hugo MacNeill was asked to chair the cross-border working group examining the issue.

It is understood an all-Ireland bid will be given the go ahead at an event in Armagh tomorrow morning.

Next year's Rugby World Cup will be hosted by England with Japan hosting the event in 2019.


Ireland rugby legend Jack Kyle dies, aged 88

In 2002 Kyle was voted Ireland's greatest-ever player. Credit: PA

Jack Kyle, one of Ireland's all-time rugby greats, has died aged 88.

The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night.

"Jack died peacefully in his sleep at home last night, surrounded by close family members," his family said in a statement.

Belfast-born Kyle won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the Lions, and guided his national side to their first-ever Five Nations Grand Slam in 1948.

In 2002 Kyle was voted Ireland's greatest-ever player, underlining his standing alongside the likes of Brian O'Driscoll and Willie John McBride as the country's most-celebrated rugby stars.

Kyle spent more than 30 years working as a consultant surgeon in Chingola, Zambia, at the end of his playing career.


Early Burgess debut a bonus says England head coach Lancaster

England head coach Stuart Lancaster believes Sam Burgess being named on Bath's bench for their Friday clash with Harlequins will give him more of a chance to make next year's World Cup squad.

Burgess, who switch from Rugby League, was expected to be out for considerably longer after fracturing a cheekbone in Australia's NRL Grand Final playing for former club South Sydney, but has recovered quick than expected.

Sam Burgess has switched codes. Credit: PA

"It's a bonus that he's starting this early, but it's a long way to go before we start picking our World Cup squad," said Lancaster.

"It will come down to how he plays; the earlier he learns how to play the game, the more he can learn about it.

"I'm pleased, and I'll be watching: it will be fascinating to see how he goes.

"He's watched a lot of union so the next step is to have a crack. It's great that Bath have put him in there."

Sexton up for world player of the year award

Sexton has been on fine form in the last year. Credit: PA

Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton has been nominated for the 2014 International Rugby Board world player of the year award.

Sexton, who played an instrumental role when Ireland beat South Africa last weekend, is among five nominations announced by the IRB.

The 29-year-old has been joined on the shortlist by South Africa full-back Willie le Roux and Springboks number eight Duane Vermeulen, and New Zealand wing Julian Savea and All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick.

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