Venues confirmed for 2015 World Cup
May 2, 2013
Venues confirmed for 2015 Rugby World Cup%]
The 2015 World Cup grounds
The organisers of the 2015 World Cup have confirmed the 13 grounds and the fixtures for the forthcoming tournament.
The final list includes four rugby strongholds - Twickenham, the Millennium Stadium, Gloucester's Kingsholm and Exeter Chiefs' Sandy Park. And there are also eight football stadiums playing host to the World Cup matches with Wembley, St James' Park, the Etihad Stadium, Villa Park, Elland Road, Brighton's Amex Stadium, Leicester City's King Power Stadium, and MK Dons' stadiummk getting the nod.
And the Olympic Stadium is also set to play a huge part in the tournament hosting five games including the bronze medal final. The knockout stages see Twickenham hosting two quarter-finals and the Millennium Stadium getting the other two. And come the semi-finals the home of English rugby will play host to both matches and also the final.
While Welford Road's omission from the original longlist of venues provoked outcry, the organisers of the tournament have handed Aviva Premiership grounds Sandy Park three games and Kingsholm four.
England open the tournament on September 18 against a side from Oceania - likely to be Fiji - while their match against Wales on September 26 will be played at Twickenham rather than the Millennium Stadium. Their clash against Australia will also be at Twickenham while their final match of the pool stage on October 10 sees Stuart Lancaster's men journeying to Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, which replaced Old Trafford on the list after Manchester United opted to withdraw the ground from the running.
Lancaster said of the announcement: "Now we know the shape the tournament will take, it brings everything into a sharp focus with less than two and a half years to go before the Rugby World Cup kicks off on English soil. We always get terrific support at Twickenham Stadium so we're looking forward to the three big games there as well as playing at the Manchester City Stadium against the eventual play-off winners which will conclude our Pool A matches.
"Taking England to the North is something we'll relish. It's an area that's full of passion and pride with huge numbers of people playing and involved in the game, and I know we'll get great support. All over the country, from St James' Park in the North East to Sandy Park in the South West, the world's best will be on show in 2015 and for all of us involved in rugby that represents a great opportunity for the game."
Wales' potentially key match against Australia on October 10 will also be at Twickenham while their other two matches in the group stage will be in Cardiff. World Cup-holders New Zealand open their campaign against Argentina at Wembley on September 20.
The tournament schedule also sees England play all their group matches at weekends, as do Ireland. Wales, Scotland, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand will all have one midweek fixture. Scotland will play two matches at Newcastle's St James' Park, including eye-catching fixtures against South Africa and Samoa.
Twickenham will host the final of the World Cup © PA Photos
England Rugby 2015 chief executive Debbie Jevans said: "The world can now start planning for Rugby World Cup 2015. In less than two and a half years' time, we will be welcoming the world to England and to a celebration of rugby, played in a range of atmospheric stadiums right across the country."
Rugby World Cup chairman Bernard Lapasset said the announcement was "an important milestone". He added: "We have also worked hard with all stakeholders to deliver a match schedule that is fair and balanced for all teams and that will provide the stage for the world's finest players from 20 nations to perform to the best of their ability during a six-week festival of world-class rugby."
Tickets for the 48-match tournament will go on sale next year. Sports minister Hugh Robertson said: "Rugby World Cup in 2015 is another great global sports event coming to the UK.
"It has the full backing of Government and will be fantastic for rugby in this country encouraging more people to get involved. There is also a great tourism opportunity to make the most of with matches being played across the country."
The full match schedule can be found here.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside
"He had a death stare so you'd know when you were wrong." George Kruis talks about his mentor Borthwick, fly-fishing and his England aspirations