The IRB has announced that a record number of unions have confirmed their intention to tender for the right to host either 2015 or 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Australia, England, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Scotland, South Africa and Wales will tender for the 2015 event, while Australia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Russia, Scotland, South Africa and Wales formally confirmed their commitment to host the 2019 tournament.
Each nation now has until 8 May 2009 to submit their detailed bids – before making a formal presentation to the IRB board. A final decision on the venues will then be made in July 2009.
IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset has been very impressed by the response and believes the strong showing indicates how much the competition has grown.
“This strong response is unprecedented and truly reflects the global attraction of the Rugby World Cup tournament. It also reflects the significant economic benefits that accompany the hosting of a tournament that has grown in stature and prominence as a global event. Rugby World Cup is now firmly established as one of the world’s top five sporting events,” said Lapasset.
“For the first time the IRB will award two tournaments at the same time. This provides longer term certainty for the hosts, Rugby World Cup Limited and the tournament’s commercial partners. It also ensures that future development investment initiatives in the game worldwide can continue to be underwritten by the tournament and planned accordingly.”