RFU chief wants 'fortress' atmosphere for World Cup
May 3, 2013
The 2015 World Cup has ten matches at Twickenham © Getty Images
Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie has called on England supporters to make Twickenham a "fortress" following Thursday's Rugby World Cup 2015 venue announcement.
England will play all but one of their pool stage matches in the forthcoming World Cup at their traditional Twickenham home. There were suggestions England could end up playing their group match against Wales in Cardiff, but it seems this idea was never really entertained by England Rugby 2015 - the body charged with delivering the World Cup.
Following England's heavy defeat to Wales in the final match of the 2013 Six Nations, the Welsh coaching staff and players paid tribute to their supporters with the atmosphere inside the Millennium Stadium proving to be influential.
And with England looking to impress on home soil come the World Cup, Ritchie wants the supporters to rally behind the team. "It is very clear that England are the hosts for this tournament and that we are out to maximise home advantage," Ritchie told the Telegraph. "We need to build Twickenham into a fortress and that is one reason why we won't be taking games on the road before the event.
"Twickenham is the home of English rugby and we want everyone to get behind England in the run-up to the World Cup. It is absolutely right that the pool match against Wales is at Twickenham. The defeat in Wales was a wake-up call for us all. I want us to replicate the sort of atmosphere that we saw that day in Cardiff and which proved so powerful.
"It's fair comment to say that we will all be judged on what happens in 2015. We need to deliver. In terms of the investment and preparation for Stuart and the team there are no excuses."
While three of England's four pool matches will be at Twickenham, the organisers have opted to take Stuart Lancaster's men on the road and the other game will be played in Manchester at the Etihad Stadium. World Cup-winner Will Greenwood, who is a Manchester City supporter, hailed the decision saying it is important the north of England gets a chance to see some of the tournament's games.
"It highlights our initiative and vision to spread rugby to as many places as possible, to allow as many people as possible to see the World Cup," Greenwood said. "The vision for this World Cup, the legacy is to spread the values of rugby but also get more people playing, more coaches and supporters.
"To have rugby's global event coming to England, we have to use that opportunity to get around the clubs so that more and more people see these games and understand the values we hold dear."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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