RUGBY Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie has rejected the proposal that England’s crunch 2015 Rugby World Cup pool match against Wales should be played in Cardiff.
England are the host nation of the tournament but the RFU’s bid included the prospect of the Millennium Stadium being used for up to eight matches, including two quarter-finals.
England and Wales were drawn together alongside Australia in the World Cup’s pool of death, with the likelihood of them being joined by Fiji as Oceania qualifiers.
Immediately after the draw, Welsh Rugby Union boss Roger Lewis suggested Wales should play England at the Millennium Stadium because “it is the finest rugby stadium in the world.”
Ritchie’s response to the WRU was a polite thank you but no thank you – and that is the message he will take to the board of England Rugby 2015, who will make the final decision on venues.
“We have a very nice home of our own and I would hope very much we would contemplate playing the match here,” said Ritchie, who is overseeing a £76million upgrade of Twickenham stadium.
“With our modest little stadium here at Twickenham, with the further investment we might be able to make it into a decent spot to play rugby.
“We equally believe we are very good hosts here and that we could hold a decent game here and would very much want to do that. Shock, horror and astonishment that I would suggest that!
“We will not get a better opportunity to inspire people to play rugby, be volunteers and participate in rugby.
“We are putting the building blocks in place to make sure we can take the most advantage of having the World Cup.”
The final decision on fixture dates and tournament venues will be made by tournament organisers England Rugby 2015, of which Ritchie is a board member, by the end of March. There are currently 17 potential venues.