The 2015 Rugby World Cup… coming soon to a football ground near you (but at least Twickenham gets the final)
10:58 GMT, 3 March 2013
12:12 GMT, 3 March 2013
The venues for England's Rugby World Cup in 2015 have been revealed and three-quarters of the selected stadiums are football grounds.
Wembley, Old Trafford and St James' Park will host fixtures while the likes of Leicester Tigers' Welford Road and Harlequins' Twickenham Stoop have been overlooked.
The only club rugby ground which has been selected is Gloucester's Kingsholm, while the Millenium Stadium and Twickenham, which will host the final, are the other recognised rugby stadiums on the list.
Unfamiliar surroundings: The All Blacks could be playing at Wembley, which hosts six fixtures
Twickenham (Hosting 8 games inc. final, capacity 82,000)
Millennium Stadium (8, 74,500)
Wembley (6, 90,000)
Kingsholm (4, 16,500)
King Power Stadium (4, 32,262)
Amex Stadium (3, 27,350)
Villa Park or Ricoh Arena (3, 42,788 or 32,609)
Ashton Gate (3, 21,497)
Stadium MK (3, 22,000 planned increase to 32,000)
St James' Park (2, 52,387)
Elland Road (2, 37,697)
Old Trafford (2, 75,765)
Unless the Olympic Stadium becomes available before the venues are officially announced later this month, these are the final selections according to the Sunday Times.
The only issue left to resolve is whether Villa Park or the Ricoh Arena will be used.
But a spokesman for the 2015 Rugby World Cup denied the list was valid.
'That list is not at all true. It is entirely speculation,' he said. 'It is not the final list.
'The long-list has been in the public domain for a long time. The use of football stadiums was a part of the bid which was well documented.'
Leicester Tigers are particularly angry that Welford Road (24,000) is being overlooked in favour of Leicester City's King Power Stadium (32,000).
Larger capacities – and therefore the potential for more tickets sold – are the reason football stadiums are being used.
The organisers need an average
attendance of 55,000 in order to reach the 80million guarantee they
have made to the International Rugby Board.
chairman Peter Tom had expressed his shock and disappointment at the
decision on the club's official website. 'We are hugely disappointed to
learn that Welford Road will not play a part in England's hosting of the
Rugby World Cup in 2015,' he said.
Road has hosted many, many major occasions over the years, including
visits from South Africa, Australia and Argentina national teams in
recent seasons. It is home to the best-supported and most successful
club in the history of the professional game in this country and, as
such, we believe is worthy of Rugby World Cup status.
Snub: Leicester Tigers' ground Welford Road is being overlooked
Selected: Newcastle's St James' Park will be used
'That the organisers of RWC2015 do not think this an appropriate venue for its fixtures is disappointing and confusing both for the professional club game in this country and for its supporters.'
An RFU statement suggested the larger capacities and better facilities on offer at modern football stadiums led to the controversial policy.
It read: 'The selection procedure for the long list of venues took into account a geographical spread across the country, sporting and facilities criteria, levels of support from candidate host cities and capacity requirements for the successful delivery of a Rugby World Cup.'