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Last Updated:  Friday, 1 November, 2002, 16:48 GMT
'Positive' response for English bid
England's two-tier proposal for the 2007 Rugby World Cup has been "well-received" by other unions, according to Twickenham's top brass.

A high-profile Rugby Football Union (RFU) delegation led by chief executive Francis Baron has been making presentations in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.

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And Baron claimed on Friday: "To date, the overall concept of the parallel tournaments within our preferred option has been well received."

The promotional tour will reach Japan on Monday before meeting home unions Scotland, Ireland and Wales later next week.

Feedback from the unions has been constructive
Graham Cattermole

Baron is trying to sell the concept of a 16-strong elite tournament with a 32-team emerging nations competition running alongside it.

And he said that concerns raised in talks held so far over scheduling, tournament size and pitch dimensions could all be easily addressed.

"It is important to point out that the June/July option was one of two windows offered to the bidding unions by the IRB from the tender document," he said.

"Ultimately, if we were successful with our bid and the IRB preferred an alternative time frame, we would accept that," he pledged.

Baron also said that despite suggestions that the second-tier Rugby Nations World Cup be scaled down to a 16-team event, the RFU still favoured the larger model.

And he continued: "We have reassured each of the unions we have visited that the pitch sizes of all 16 of the grounds we propose to use for the World Cup conform to IRB standards."

RFU management board chairman Graeme Cattermole added: "Feedback from the unions has been constructive, and many of their thoughts and suggestions will be incorporated into our plans if we are successful with our bid."

France are England's only rivals to host the 2007 tournament, with the International Rugby Board due to name the winners in April.

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