Australia get the World Cup go-ahead
Australia's World Cup bid was confirmed on this day in 2002 © IRB
The sport's showpiece tournament, held every four years, was originally scheduled for Australia and New Zealand but World Cup organisers withdrew their invitation to New Zealand to co-host the tournament last month after officials refused to sign the sub-host agreement. The Kiwis found themselves axed due to concerns about their ability to provide venues without pre-booked advertising and seating. Tournament organisers had already been angered by the Kiwis' failure to move their domestic NPC Championship out of World Cup time, reluctantly agreeing to an overlap in the two competitions.
"The integrity of the tournament is at the front of our thinking," said ARU chief executive John O'Neill. "At the same time, there is the chance to provide a great legacy for the game in Australia, both in terms of exposure and also financially. Professional sport is a tough, competitive environment in Australia. A Rugby World Cup staged here will give us an edge our competitors lack."
"This is the day it has all become real," said Woodward. "I am determined we leave no stone unturned in our preparations and this is the first opportunity for me to sit down with the players to discuss that. I am very impressed by them. They are totally up for it, focused and committed to doing the best possible for their clubs, countries and the Lions. I want this Tour to be different from any other with each player enjoying the experience, acting as an ambassador for their country as well as focussing on winning."
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry
Are the margins between the teams in the Six Nations getting smaller year-on-year? Huw Richards gives some answers