Sandy Park added to World Cup mix
March 4, 2013
The addition of Exeter's Sandy Park brings the number of club rugby grounds on the long list to two © Getty Images
Reported World Cup venues:
Exeter Chiefs' Sandy Park ground has been added to the list of potential venues for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The Chiefs ground's inclusion sees Bristol City's Ashton Gate drop out of the reckoning due to its proposed redevelopment. England Rugby 2015, the body in charge of organising the World Cup, spoke with the football club and due to doubts over whether the Bristol stadium will be ready in time for the tournament, it has opted to draft in Sandy Park.
ER 2015 has confirmed that Sandy Park meets all of the minimum standards criteria required to be a World Cup stadium - criteria which covers: playing facilities, pitch size, commercial considerations and the support of the local authority. The Chiefs had ambitious plans approved in October to develop the stadium from its current 10,744 capacity to 20,600 over the next five years.
Debbie Jevans, ER 2015 CEO, said of the decision: "We want to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2015 is a truly national event, and Sandy Park, located in the rugby heartland of the south west, gives us the option to take the tournament as far and wide as possible.
"I would like to thank Tony Rowe, chairman and chief executive of Exeter Chiefs, and Exeter City Council for their support over the last few weeks as we went through the process of adding Sandy Park to the long list. We are finalising venues and the match schedule in conjunction with Rugby World Cup Limited and will publish the final list in the next few weeks."
Exeter's Rowe added: "We are delighted to have been confirmed as one of the possible match venues on the long list for Rugby World Cup 2015. We see this as not only a fantastic opportunity to showcase our great club to the world's rugby fraternity, but also it provides a wonderful opportunity to bring alive not only the city of Exeter, but also our region which we know offers a significant input into the heartbeat of English rugby.
"This announcement is exciting news not just for rugby followers locally, but for everyone living here within the region. We have been working incredibly closely with Exeter City Council in submitting a bid we hope will bring so much to so many people. Our hope now is that we will be among the venues that will be selected for what I know will be a superb Rugby World Cup here in England in 2015."
Reports at the weekend suggested that the original 17-ground long list has now been cut to 12 but ER 2015 has since said the "list is not at all true" while the Telegraph reported on Monday that the Olympic Stadium was still in the mix. Ashton Gate was included on that 12-ground list as the south west's representative and due to its omission, Sandy Park seems to stand a good chance of featuring during the World Cup. The final 12-ground list will be announced on March 15.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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