The recommendation from the Board of RWCL followed the refusal earlier this year by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRU) to accept the terms of the offer to host part of the Tournament. RWCL subsequently requested and received an alternative bid for sole Host Union status from the Australian Rugby Union (ARU).
Throughout its deliberations, the Council has been acutely aware of the implications for rugby wherever it is played and remains sensitive to the impact of this decision upon the game in New Zealand, but it was left with no alternative.
Generous accommodations made by RWCL to meet the needs and problems of the NZRU were repaid with consistent failures and wholly inappropriate behaviour. Despite this, the Council determined to give full and fair hearing to New Zealand's position and to its most recent submissions. However, the outstanding Australian proposal held an attraction, a professionalism and a logic which were irresistible.
The success and profile of Rugby World Cup are fundamental to the work of the IRB and in particular to its programmes of rugby development around the world. Today's decision brings both finality and certainty to the process, and will enable Rugby World Cup 2003 to achieve its goals.
There is little doubt that relationships have been damaged as a result of these unhappy events. The IRB now holds out the hope that all parties will accept the final outcome with dignity, and that the truly international spirit which cements the sport will quickly heal any wounds.
The Welsh Rugby Union has awarded a unique 'President's Cap' to a specific group of players who represented their country between 1945 and 1979, but missed out on international recognition at the time.
Prabhat Mathema, the WRU's National Medical Manager explains the four part Pitchside Suspected Concussion Assessment process the IRB has devised that is being implemented throughout the Dove Men Series and in the LV= Cup this season, which includes the provision for a five minute temporary substitution to allow an assessment to take place.