The French Rugby Federation has announced its intention to host the 2023 #Rugby Union #world cup. The three-time World Cup runners-up revealed their bid yesterday at a press conference in Paris, attended by current and former players from both the men's and women's game. The captains of the men's and women's XV teams and Sevens teams joined forces to back #France2023, four months before the application deadline. The #France 2023 logo will be worn on all team jerseys starting with this weekend's Six Nations fixtures, whilst the nation's Sevens teams will wear the logo on their World Series tour, which visits Las Vegas next month.
Men's XV captain Guilhem Guirado spoke of the collective pride about France's bid: "It is with pride that we show our support for the French bid on the Blue jersey. By playing for the national team, we are already representing our country. With France 2023 on our shirts, we will have the impression of representing it twice!"
Meanwhile, the FFR president, Bernard Laporte, has insisted that hosting the World Cup will have a positive impact on French rugby as a whole, including grassroots: "France wants the Rugby World Cup! The France 2023 bid is supported by 80% of the French people. This World Cup will also be that of the 1895 French rugby clubs. Through the legacy of the event, all rugby will be positively impacted by the 2023 World Cup in France." He continued, saying, "This World Cup is above all that of the 1895 clubs. "They are the ones who will mobilize the volunteers and will be the guarantors of the spirit of fun, sharing and conviviality that characterizes French Rugby... which is why the 2007 World Cup was a success!".
Nineteen venues are candidates to be hosts and whilst major cities such as Paris, Lille, Lyon and Marseille are present, smaller cities such as Le Mans, Rennes, Sochaux and Valenciennes are also on the list. As Laporte mentioned, France has previously held the World Cup in 2007 and also shared hosting duties with Britain and Ireland in 1991.
'85 million tourists'
As per the FFR website, Claude Atcher, the Director of France 2023, also spoke about the importance of France's thriving tourist industry: "The bid highlights the "France" product. The France of Savoir-Vivre, which makes our country the world's leading tourist destination with 85 million tourists a year, and finally the France of savoir-faire, with its efficient infrastructure and our country's expertise in the organization of the biggest events in the world, such as Euro 2016 and the 2017 World Handball Championship."
Last weekend's opening fixtures of the Six Nations was poor all-around for France with three losses to England. The men's team were edged out 19-16 by the reigning champions at Twickenham, the under-20's were thrashed 59-17 and the women's team were beaten 26-13. Scotland are the visitors to Paris this weekend.