Sunday, 17 May 2009

Turning Japanese

So, the RFU have unveiled England's bid to host the 2015 Rugby World Cup - and a very impressive bid it is too.

The bid was presented to the IRB Council in Dublin last week, England’s bid team outlining proposals to bring the RWC back to England for the first time in 24 years, a move it believes will "leave a lasting legacy for the global game."

With iconic stadia such as Twickeham (82,000 capacity), Wembley (90,000), the Millennium Stadium (74,000), the Emirates (61,000) and Old Trafford (76,000) amongst those proposed, there's no doubting the economic potential of this English bid - the target being to sell 3 million seats, a 30% increase on France 2007.

Not only did the bid feature the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio and Will Greenwood, it also apprently has the full support of Her Majesty’s Government (well, those members of the Government who are not too explaining away how they fiddled their expenses).

What's more, the RFU is committed, it says, to investing 100% of its surplus from the tournament back into the grassroots game at home and abroad and so, all in all, it all sounds very, very impressive indeed.

So why don't I support it?

Don't get me wrong - I'm sure that England would put on a fantastic tournament and I will undoubtedly be fighting to get tickets should the bid prove successful but I can't, in all conscience, support this bid.

The bottom line is that Japan, who were utterly shafted by the IRB when the 2011 tournament was shamefully awarded to New Zealand, deserve the 2015 gig. The Japanese also have great stadia, an excellent infrastructure, are geared up for a tourist invasion and have hosted a major world tournament relatively recently. More importantly rugby really needs to grow beyond its traditional heartlands and awarding the tournament to Japan (who have, like England, guaranteed £80m in revenue to the IRB) would send out all the right signals.

The decision will be made by the IRB Council on 28th July in Dublin and, while the head says that England could probably deliver a better financial return, the heart very much says that the 2015 Rugby World cup should go to Japan for all the right reasons.

Turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so... (The Vapors, 1980).


Nursedude said...

If we want to expand rugby as a sport, we have to start having the RWC in countries other than the home countries, France, and the Tri Nations Trio. I would like to see Japan get a shot at the 2015 World Cup.

Leg Break said...

Agree that Japan deserves a World Cup ASAP.

But I like the look of Italy too.

BTW, if you want to blame anyone for Japan not getting it in 2011 blame O’Neill. He shafted NZ (with incompetent help from over the Tasman) in 2002, and the IRB took pity / felt guilty for NZ on that.