England and Wales ponder joint World Cup bid

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The Independent Online

England and Wales are considering a joint bid for the right to host the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

It emerged today that two unions have had preliminary discussions about a joint proposal and that early talks have been “positive.”

The IRB said yesterday that it would be awarding both the 2015 and 2019 tournaments in July 2009.

With the 2011 tournament being hosted in New Zealand, it is expected to make far less profit than the previous two in Australia (2003) and France (2007), which would put a bid from the RFU and WRU in a strong position when the IRB has to decide on a venue for 2015.

Any bidding process is likely to include Japan, who missed out controversially for 2011 in a secret vote, and South Africa, who hosted and won the 1995 tournament.

Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron and Welsh Rugby Union chairman David Pickering held informal talks about the possibility at the IRB summit in Hong Kong last week and the RFU is thought to be setting up a special group to discuss the proposals.

An RFU spokesman said: “No decisions have been taken or will be taken until we receive the tender documents from the IRB.”

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapsset said yesterday: “As the revenue generation is vital to our ongoing development plans we recognise that the World Cup has to be held in one of our senior core markets on a regular basis.

“However, the commercial success of the tournament also means we can now consider placing the tournament in new developing markets to assist the game’s strategic growth.”