Lancaster seeks to harness home advantage
December 4, 2012
Chris Robshaw targets progression from the pool
England boss Stuart Lancaster is keen to utilise home advantage in the 2015 World Cup but any decision over where his team will play is out of his hands.
England were drawn in a challenging pool for the 2015 showpiece and will face both Australia and Wales in three years time. With the fixtures and venues set to be announced in March, the Welsh Rugby Union has already made an audacious bid to stage their two fixtures against England and the Wallabies at the Millennium Stadium.
England Rugby 2015, the tournament organising body, refused to rule out the possibility that Lancaster's team could have to play their crunch pool fixture against Wales in Cardiff. The Rugby Football Union and Lancaster's management will have limited sway when it comes to deciding but England want to be at Twickenham and take advantage of the same sort of atmosphere that they experienced against the All Blacks on Saturday.
"Clearly from our point of view Twickenham would be our preferred venue," Lancaster said. "Before the All Blacks game I was asked about the haka and said that we'd respect it as a cultural ritual but it was also true we had 82,000 people behind us.
"We certainly felt that in the stands and I am sure the boys felt it on the pitch. It was an unbelievable atmosphere. It was a special day. What home advantage did for the Olympians is a great example of how it inspires people to an extra five or 10% and sometimes at this level that's what's needed.
"It's massive for England to have the World Cup here. For the game in general, so many people who will benefit from the tournament which will last way beyond 2015."
And Lancaster's view was echoed by skipper Chris Robshaw. "Of course we want to be at Twickenham and have home advantage - 80,000 people shouting you on and cheering you on," Robshaw said. "We speak about the power of the nation behind us and we definitely felt it on Saturday. If we can get to those standards it will be great."
RFU chief executive Ian Richie also called for the match against Wales to be staged in England. "We appreciate the kind offer and it's a lovely place to go and play rugby but we have a nice stadium of our own," Ritchie told the BBC ."We think it's a great place to come and play rugby as well. It's not purely an RFU decision, the Rugby World Cup board look at it, all sorts of considerations need to happen. But obviously we would be extremely keen to play the match here and think that we can provide a great setting for a great game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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