Tuesday, January 10, 2012

England hope to outdo NZ2011

Source: All Blacks

The man in charge of delivering the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England is confident that the Rugby Football Union (RFU) have finally got their house in order and hopes the competition will be the best in history.

Key figures from the world of rugby gathered opposite Twickenham today to mark the official launch of planning for the tournament.

Twickenham has been the scene of a number of long-running boardroom battles at the RFU, which ended with a number of high-profile departures amid a backdrop of a poor World Cup campaign that saw England knocked out in the quarter-finals.

England's disciplinary troubles in New Zealand also dogged the team and former manager Martin Johnson was heavily criticised for not keeping his players in check.

Paul Vaughan, chief executive of host organisation England Rugby 2015 (ER 2015), is aware that England performing well is a big factor in the success of the competition and hopes they will rise to the challenge of competing for the Webb Ellis trophy on home soil.

"I think the RFU and English rugby they have pretty much got themselves sorted out now in terms of improving the governance of the game and getting the right culture involved in the England team," Vaughan said.

"We want and need them to do well because inevitably a successful England team will help us raise interest and it will help us sell a lot of tickets.

"We want to make sure that happens. We have to believe that England will get themselves into a good position."

The 2015 World Cup will be the first time that England has hosted the competition on its own and they are confident that it will be even more successful than last year's event in New Zealand, which gained widespread praise.

Around 1.3million people attended the tournament in 2011, but ER 2015 hope to sell around three million tickets in England.

The economic downturn could have an impact, but Vaughan claimed today that supporters will be able to afford to watch games, with pool tickets available for less than 10 pound.

"Our objective is to be the best Rugby World Cup in the history of the game," Vaughan added. "It will be a difficult challenge. They did a fantastic job in New Zealand. They were absolutely brilliant at running the event.

"Part of the task will be to get the ticketing strategy right. We are going to make sure the cup will be affordable and accessible to everyone.

"We are looking to sell just under three million tickets. We have nine million people interested in the game in this country and we hope to have 350,000 people coming in to attend too. I think it's a realistic target."

The stadia to be used and the start and finish dates will be discussed at an International Rugby Board (IRB) meeting in March.

A number of football grounds, including Old Trafford, the Emirates Stadium and Anfield in Liverpool could be used.

That could cause problems as the World Cup could clash with the football season, but organisers are confident that Premier League and Champions League games will not dilute the public's interest in the World Cup.

IRB chief executive Mike Miller said: "We have a few tricks up our sleeve to get people interested in this event.

"The Premier League happens week-in, week-out, this does every four years, and once every 20, 30 or 40 in England so this is a special event, it's a world event."

Miller added that the IRB will discuss over the next two months whether Wales should be allowed to play some of their pool matches at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

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