England confirm bid for RWC'15
May 5, 2009
RFU boss Francis Baron had previously expressed concerns about the £80m hosting fee demanded by the International Rugby Board © Getty Images
England will bid to host the 2015 Rugby World Cup the Rugby Football Union have confirmed today.
Details of the bid will not be released until after the presentation to the International Rugby Board Council on May 13 but Twickenham, Wembley, Old Trafford and the Millennium Stadium are set to feature with the RFU promising to use, "the biggest and best stadia in England and Wales."
Rugby World Cup winners Lawrence Dallaglio and Will Greenwood have joined the bid team and, along with Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport Andy Burnham, will be part of a five-strong delegation presenting the government-backed proposal in Dublin. The IRB Council will announce the hosts of the 2015 and 2019 tournaments on July 28.
England last hosted the Rugby World Cup in 1991 along with Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France and RFU chief executive Francis Baron said, "We believe it is time that we brought the Tournament back to England and are confident we would be able to provide the best platform to profile the sport on the world stage and enable us to make a lasting commitment to grassroots rugby."
Only last week, Baron aired his concerns regarding the £80m guarantee demanded by the IRB and similar economic concerns resulted in Australia withdrawing their bid last month. Ireland and Scotland also recently pulled out of any co-hosting bid with the RFU after failing to reach agreement with their fellow home nations.
England's potential rivals for the 2015 event - South Africa, Japan and Italy - all have full financial backing from their respective governments and there were doubts regarding support for the RFU bid but a similar support package has now been agreed and those fears now appear to have been allayed.
"England 2015 would be a superb addition to a great decade of sport in Britain," added Burnham. "England 2015 would be a superb addition to a great decade of sport in Britain. The RFU has pulled together an outstanding bid that will take the game to new audiences. It has the Government's full support and we will now work with them to make the case for it."
With New Zealand staging the next Rugby World Cup in 2011, the 2015 version is poised for a northern hemisphere stage. And England, who lost out to France for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, would appear to be in pole position for an event that has an estimated £2.1billion-worth of economic benefits for the hosts.
Dallaglio, who won 85 caps between 1995 and 2007, added, "Playing in the Rugby World Cup is every player's dream. I was fortunate to play in three and the drama created by the tournament can only be matched by the passion of people for sport in England. Putting the two together at world class venues like Twickenham, Wembley, Old Trafford and the Millennium Stadium will produce the ultimate rugby event."
Greenwood is also confident that England's case to host the tournament is a strong one. "The whole nation was with us that night and when we got back you could see the impact that the World Cup had right across the country. New people were playing rugby in new places and, as with the 2012 Olympics, I am confident there will be a lasting legacy from hosting the 2015 World Cup."
The Welsh Rugby Union expressed its delight at the news with Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, saying, "I am delighted the Rugby Football Union has now confirmed their bid and declared that if they are successful matches will be played here in Wales. I have been involved in detailed discussions with senior representatives of the RFU and the outcome will be great news for the rugby public of Wales if the bid succeeds.
"The Rugby World Cup is one of the greatest competitions on our sporting calendar and we here in Wales are proud to be associated with its success. I know the RFU have worked hard on their proposal and I can promise them that everyone involved in rugby in Wales would work tirelessly to ensure the competition is a massive success.
"It is a tribute to the status of the Millennium Stadium that its significance as a British sporting arena has been recognised by our involvement in this bid."
The WRU, that played a part in the 1991, 1999, 2007 Rugby World Cups, is currently in discussion with the Welsh Assembly Government exploring what support may be available to maximise the opportunities a Welsh involvement in the 2015 Rugby World Cup would bring to the principality.
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