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."
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'