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Page last updated at 15:13 GMT, Sunday, 20 July 2008 16:13 UK

Italy to make Rugby World Cup bid

Sergio Parisse
The 2011 World Cup was awarded to New Zealand

Italy will bid to host either the 2015 or 2019 Rugby World Cup, the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) has announced.

"It's a new cornerstone in the development of Italian rugby which the whole movement should be proud of," said FIR president Giancarlo Dondi.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) will announce in July 2009 who will host the two events.

England and Wales are considering making a joint bid for 2015, with Japan also set to bid for the same year.

"At the moment we are waiting to have the documentation from the IRB with which to make our bid official," added Dondi in a statement.

"Successively we will be able to get to work on presenting the best project possible to the IRB in order to bring to Italy the world's third most important sporting event after the football World Cup and the Olympics."

The IRB began the tender process for the 2015 and 2019 tournaments this month by inviting "expressions of interest".

The bidding process is a notoriously political affair with unions bartering for votes, often leading to matches being staged in several countries, as happened in France 2007, when games were also played in Edinburgh and Cardiff.

Japan, with England legends Martin Johnson and Jason Leonard among their backers, were widely expected to be handed the 2011 tournament.

But New Zealand were awarded host status in a secret vote amid accusations of a carve-up among the sport's major nations.

The 2011 tournament is not expected to generate anything like the same revenue as the previous two World Cups, in Australia in 2003, and in France last year, however.

The IRB is expected to return to one of its 'bankers' in 2015 - with England or South Africa the most likely venue - although chairman Bernard Lapasset indicated rugby might be ready to broaden its horizons.

see also
O'Neill criticises World Cup cost
14 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
England and Wales ponder Cup bid
09 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
Autumn plan for 2011 World Cup
17 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
Wheeler questions World Cup vote
12 Jan 06 |  Internationals
Japan accepts World Cup decision
09 Jan 06 |  Internationals
New Zealand handed 2011 World Cup
17 Nov 05 |  Internationals
Johnson backs Japan 2011 RWC bid
17 Oct 05 |  Internationals
Rugby World Cup 2007 results
14 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales

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