Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Rugby Football Union


  The RFU is providing this brief summary as requested by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee as part of its new inquiry into Staging International Sporting Events.

  Most of the information contained in the summary has been provided by the RFU's regional liaison officer during RWC '99, Robert Horner. It must be stressed however, that the RFU was only responsible for RWC '99 games taking place in England during the tournament. The event itself was co-ordinated by the International Rugby Board and the hosts, Wales.

  England staged matches at Twickenham, Bristol (Ashton Gate), Huddersfield (The McAlpine Stadium) and Leicester (Welford Road). One match was played at each of the latter venues with six matches taking place at Twickenham Stadium.

  The matches held at Twickenham Stadium were:

England v Italy
England v New Zealand
Englandv Tonga
England v Fiji
South Africa v Australia
New Zealand v France

Other Matches     
New Zealand v Italy
25,000 (approx)
Italy v Tonga
16,000 (approx)
New Zealand v Tonga
23,000 (approx)

  Matches held in England and Wales were played in front of crowds of around 93 per cent capacity. It should be pointed out that England v Fiji was a 1 pm kick off on a Wednesday. The New Zealand v Italy match was also a 1 pm kick off on a Thursday. All three matches in Bristol, Leicester and Huddersfield were very close to capacity.

  The Huddersfield venue was chosen because it has a track record of hosting major rugby union matches in recent years and there is a fairly large Italian population in nearby Leeds. We also made the choice of Huddersfield to bring first class rugby union to what is traditionally a rugby league area. Bristol is in the middle of a strong rugby union area and had previously held an ERPXV (English First Division Rugby) v New Zealand match in 1997. Leicester of course has a strong rugby union base and although the game was played at 7 pm on a Sunday it was a near capacity crowd. The venues for all three games played outside of Twickenham were chosen after the draw to ensure that as many people as possible could see the games. We did not want to play the matches in front of half filled stadia and the choices made proved to be logistically and commercially sound ones.

  The RFU proved that it was capable, once again, of hosting international sporting events in this country. The success of its three wins over the SANZA countries, last autumn, underlined the positive impact a winning national side has on the country and its sporting image.

January 2001

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