Wales want to host England clash
December 3, 2012
England Rugby 2015 chief executive Debbie Jevans draws England at the tournament pool draw in London © Getty Images
Wales are hoping to convince Rugby World Cup chiefs to stage their mouth-watering clash with England at the Millennium Stadium.
The Six Nations rivals were drawn together alongside Australia in Monday's pool allocation draw in London and Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis immediately made an audacious bid to host the game.
Cardiff's Millennium Stadium was included in England's original bid for the tournament and made the shortlist of possible venues announced earlier this year with its 72,500 capacity thought to be key to helping organisers sell their target of 2.9m tickets. The WRU hope to host eight matches at the iconic stadium despite concerns over Wales being handed such an advantage with the final list of venues set to be confirmed early next year.
"It is very important to remember that Wales was included in the England's bid for matches in the Millennium Stadium," said Lewis. "What was pencilled in (for the Millennium Stadium) was eight games and the Welsh government and Cardiff city council would provide financial support to the tune of £1.4million.
"The UK treasury supported the under-writing of the competition and of course Wales is still part of the United Kingdom. We would be very welcoming hosts. The discussions will now begin. I think they (England) would embrace the opportunity to play in the finest rugby stadium in the world. I think everything must be up for discussion because it is the finest rugby stadium in the world."
It seems unlikely England would play any pool games away from their traditional Twickenham HQ but England Rugby 2015 (ER2015), the organisers of the tournament, have refused to rule out the prospect. ER2015 is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Rugby Football Union but neither they or the England management will be able to influence the final decision that rests with Rugby World Cup Ltd.
"Roger has invited us, which is very kind of him. I am not going to say one way or the other," said ER2015 chief executive Debbie Jevans. "At this point I am not ruling anything out an I am not ruling anything in.
"I understand where Roger is coming from. He is pushing for as many games as possible to be in Cardiff. I don't hold that against him. Now we know what the draw is we can go away and look at the appropriate venues for the appropriate matches."
The ER2015 board will draw up the final fixture schedule, including the final venues list, which will then be rubber-stamped by Rugby World Cup Ltd. The ER2015 schedule announcement in March will also include confirmation of the opening fixture on September 18, which is sure to be at Twickenham.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene