RFU spurns Welsh offer to host clash
December 4, 2012
RFU CEO Ian Ritchie is keen to face Wales at Twickenham © Getty Images
The Rugby Football Union's CEO Ian Ritchie has laughed off suggestions from his Welsh counterpart that England's 2015 Rugby World Cup pool match against Wales should be played in Cardiff.
While England are the hosts for the rugby showpiece, the RFU's bid included the Millennium Stadium as one ground that could be used for up to eight matches during the tournament. England were drawn alongside Wales and Australia in Monday's draw which led WRU chief Roger Lewis to suggest that the Anglo-Welsh match should be played in Cardiff as, in his view, "it is the finest rugby stadium in the world".
Ritchie sits on the board of England Rugby 2015 - the body in charge of the tournament - and it will be that organisation that decides where the games will be played not the RFU.
"We have a very nice home of our own and I would hope very much we would contemplate playing the match here," said Ritchie, who is overseeing a £76million upgrade of Twickenham stadium. "With our modest little stadium here at Twickenham, with the further investment we might be able to make it into a decent spot to play rugby.
"We equally believe we are very good hosts here and that we could hold a decent game here and would very much want to do that. Shock, horror and astonishment that I would suggest that! We will not get a better opportunity to inspire people to play rugby, be volunteers and participate in rugby.
"We are putting the building blocks in place to make sure we can take the most advantage of having the World Cup."
The final decision on fixture dates and tournament venues will be made by ER 2015 by the end of March. ER2015 currently has a list of 17 potential venues that will be whittled down to between and 12 and 14 once the fixture matrix for the 48 matches has been finalised.
"The draw brings up all sorts of things about who plays where," Ritchie said. "There is another three months before we get to a conclusion on which venues we will select. How do we inspire the game around the country and who plays where? It is a complex matrix and as a member of the board we have a responsibility to look at the total competition."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton