Spectacular setting: London's Olympic Stadium has been included on a controversial long list

by Ben Coles

ENGLAND RUGBY 2015 have released a long list of 17 potential stadiums to be used during the Rugby World Cup 2015, with only three rugby grounds included.

Twickenham Stadium, the Millennium Stadium and Kingsholm in Gloucester will all potentially host matches, whilst the 14 remaining grounds are all used pre-dominantly by football teams. These include famous grounds such as Old Trafford, Elland Road, Wembley Stadium and St. James’ Park, but also more obscure locations such as the Brighton Community Stadium, Coventry Stadium and Pride Park in Derby.

London’s Olympic Stadium, as rumoured in recent weeks, has also been included on the exhaustive list on the back of an outstanding summer hosting both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The absence of English rugby strongholds such as Welford Road and Franklins Gardens has left supporters and the media disappointed, with the organising committee opting for greater capacities and the chance to generate more ticket sales rather than use some of England’s iconic rugby grounds.

One prime example is the decision to use the Leicester City Stadium (capacity – 32,262) instead of the home of Leicester Tigers, Welford Road (capacity – 24,000).

An ER2015 statement said:

“The selection procedure for the long list of venues took into account a geographical spread across the country, sporting and facilities criteria, levels of support from candidate host cities and capacity requirements for the successful delivery of a Rugby World Cup that will see approximately 2.9 million tickets being made available to fans, and upwards of 400,000 international fans visiting England from over 100 countries.”

Of the 17 stadium listed, 12 venues well be selected in Spring next year as the fixture schedule is finalised. The Pool Allocation draw for the Rugby World Cup 2015 will be made on December 3rd, 2012.

1. Villa Park, Birmingham
2. Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton
3. Ashton Gate, Bristol
4. Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
5. Coventry Stadium, Coventry
6. Pride Park,  Derby
7. Kingsholm, Gloucester
8. Elland Road, Leeds
9. Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
10. Olympic Stadium, London
11. Twickenham Stadium, London
12. Wembley Stadium, London
13. Old Trafford, Manchester
14. Stadiummk, Milton Keynes
15. St James’ Park, Newcastle
16. St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton
17. Stadium of Light, Sunderland

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