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England to make solo 2015 Cup bid

The 1999 Rugby World Cup final
England reached the final when they last hosted the World Cup in 1991

RFU chairman Martyn Thomas has confirmed that England will make a solo bid to host the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

England's proposal was supported by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and sports minister Andy Burnham after high-level talks at Downing Street on Wednesday.

Scotland, Wales and Ireland are keen on staging the tournament but none of them have the facilities to do it alone.

Thomas said England would consider moving some matches to stadiums in the other three home nations.

Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, which hosted games in the 1999 and 2007 World Cups, Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Hampden Park in Glasgow and Croke Park and Lansdowne Road in Dublin are obvious candidates.

"England will bid for the World Cup," said Thomas. "We have certainly had very good discussions with the Welsh in terms of using the facilities they have, particularly the Millennium Stadium but also the Ospreys and maybe the new Cardiff stadium.

I believe that rugby is one of the great sports and I also believe we can win the Rugby World Cup bid for this country in 2015

Prime Minister Gordon Brown

"I am sure if we go ahead with the bid we will certainly involve games in Wales. We haven't totally ruled out games further north. We want to make sure there are games in the north of England and that it reaches out to as many people as possible."

Eight different countries have expressed an interest in hosting the 2015 event - Italy, South Africa, Australia, Japan and the four home nations.

RFU chief executive Francis Baron had warned that England may withdraw their bid because of "massive financial risks", saying that the International Rugby Board's demands for a guaranteed sum in profits had changed the bid process.

But Thomas met with Mr Burnham and outlined the levels of financial support the RFU would require to host the tournament for the first time since 1991.

"I am pleased to say Andy Burnham has indicated today he is very happy to sit down with us and give us some support," said Thomas.

"There seem to be potentially two other countries that are likely to be strong contenders - where their government has come very strong to say they will, as we are told, underwrite the bid totally. One is in Europe and one in South Africa.

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"I have had a very positive meeting with Andy Burnham, who is the boss, and with Gordon Brown - who is the ultimate boss. Certainly Andy is very supportive in helping us win the Rugby World Cup."

Mr Brown offered his support publicly as he addressed England players and officials at Downing Street to mark the launch of the RFU's Injured Players Foundation.

The Prime Minister, who lost an eye playing rugby when he was 16, said: "I believe that rugby is one of the great sports and I also believe we can win the Rugby World Cup (bid for) this country in 2015.

"I hope that you, the RFU, will be able to persuade other countries that the Rugby World Cup should come here. I am here to support people who were part of the 2007 World Cup team when you played South Africa (in the final), having already beaten France and Australia.

"I was very proud to be in Paris that day when you took on the South Africans and performed so well."

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see also
England meet Scots in World Cup
01 Dec 08 |  Rugby Union
England may withdraw 2015 Cup bid
30 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
England weigh up 2015 bid options
01 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Scots look to co-host World Cup
01 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales confirm World Cup bid plans
01 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Japan to bid for 2015 World Cup
01 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
IRB confirm 2015 & 2019 host bids
15 Aug 08 |  Rugby Union
Italy to make Rugby World Cup bid
20 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union


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