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Page last updated at 08:07 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 09:07 UK

Japan to bid for 2015 World Cup

South Africa wing Bryan Habana, head coach Jake White and skipper John Smit
South Africa beat England in Paris to win the 2007 World Cup

A record eight countries have made bids to hold the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with Japan hoping to bring the tournament to Asia for the first time.

The Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU), who lost out to New Zealand for the right to host the 2011 World Cup, has bid for the 2015 and 2019 events.

"We're bidding for Asia and for Japan," said JRFU chief Nobby Mashimo.

All four home unions are also bidding for the 2015 tournament, along with Australia, Italy and South Africa.

And Australia, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Scotland, South Africa and Wales are keen on hosting in 2019.

Jamaica, who have never played in a World Cup, had been on the list of contenders for the 2019 tournament, but decided against pursuing their interest.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) will announce the winning bids for both the 2015 and 2019 tournaments in July 2009.

"This strong response is unprecedented, and truly reflects the global attraction of the Rugby World Cup," said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.

"It also reflects the significant economic benefits that accompany the hosting of a tournament that has grown in stature and prominence as a global event.

"For the first time, the IRB will award two tournaments at the same time.

"This provides longer-term certainty for the hosts, Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) and the tournament's commercial partners.

"It also ensures that future development investment initiatives in the game worldwide can continue to be underwritten by the tournament and planned accordingly."

The unions have until 8 May next year to submit their detailed tenders, before making formal presentations to IRB chiefs.

The JRFU says awarding the tournament to an Asian country will help to spread the sport to a new audience.

Jamaica have never taken part in a World Cup, while Russia failed to make the 2007 event after losing to Portugal and Italy in qualifying.

"Bringing the tournament to Japan and Asia will unlock the potential of rugby as a truly global sport," added Mashimo.

Back in 2005, Japan had England's World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson in their corner as they lobbied to host the 2011 tournament.

They were widely tipped to win the International Rugby Board vote but they controversially lost out to New Zealand in the second round of the secret ballot.

The decision dismayed the JRFU while the Asian Rugby Football Union asked the IRB to stage a re-run of the vote.

see also
London Mayor eyes Rugby World Cup
23 Aug 08 |  Rugby Union
IRB confirm 2015 & 2019 host bids
15 Aug 08 |  Rugby Union
Rugby union 'stuck in a ghetto'
27 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
Italy to make Rugby World Cup bid
20 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
O'Neill criticises World Cup cost
14 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
England and Wales ponder Cup bid
09 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
England 6-15 South Africa
20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Autumn plan for 2011 World Cup
17 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
Japan accepts World Cup decision
09 Jan 06 |  Internationals
Japan frustrated by 2011 decision
17 Nov 05 |  Internationals
New Zealand handed 2011 World Cup
17 Nov 05 |  Internationals
Johnson backs Japan 2011 RWC bid
17 Oct 05 |  Internationals

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