Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) has announced its decision to recommend England to the IRB Council as host of Rugby World Cup 2015 and Japan as host of Rugby World Cup 2019, achieving a balance between funding the global Game and developing new Rugby markets.
The recommendation comes after a comprehensive tender analysis process involving detailed technical and strategic evaluation and independent financial, commercial and legal analysis of each of the tenders.
"All the tenders were of a very high standard and each Union demonstrated that they could host an excellent Rugby World Cup. It is a tribute to the health of the Game and the enormous prestige of RWC that the field was so strong," said RWCL Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"Both Italy and South Africa submitted comprehensive tenders with very strong Government support and would be capable of hosting outstanding Rugby World Cup tournaments now or in the future. I would like to thank and congratulate them both for the quality of their tenders. However, there could only be two recommended Unions and after detailed review, the RWCL Board decided that England and Japan would provide the best balanced combination of hosts for the continued worldwide development of the Game."
As the world's third-largest sporting event, Rugby World Cup is the driving force behind the global development of Rugby worldwide. The tournament's commercial success provides the IRB with the platform to invest up to £150 million between 2009-2012 across all 116 Member Unions in the form of annual Union grants and the strategic investment programme that is designed to increase the competitiveness of the Game.
"A tournament in England would allow the IRB to maximise funding available for investment in the Game through a strong commercial programme and a great RWC showcase. In the heart of the UK's proposed Decade of Sport, RWCL believes that the RFU will deliver a RWC that will capture the imagination, attract strong attendances at superb venues and maximise the festival experience for the millions of attending supporters."
"In finalising the recommendation for RWC 2019, the RWCL Board believes that a Rugby World Cup in Japan would provide a gateway to the further development and expansion of the Game in Asia, reaching out to new young fans and providing a superb spectacle for the sport."
"The JRFU recently hosted a record-breaking IRB Junior World Championship and has demonstrated that it has the ability to deliver an outstanding tournament in 2019. With a ten year lead time, RWCL and the JRFU would have the time needed to create and develop the framework for an outstanding RWC tournament to provide lasting legacies in Japan and Asia," added Lapasset.
The RWC Board is also recommending that unless compelling reasons can be presented for matches to be held in other territories matches should only be held in the respective Host Unions as a matter of principle.
WRU International Skills Coach Jason Strange is a busy man, combining the new role with that of Wales Under 20 attack coach, Ebbw Vale head coach and continuing to teach at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community.
Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
Following their historic win over England, Wales Under 20 suffered a narrow, 36-34 loss to their Scottish counterparts last weekend, despite outscoring them by five tries to three. Watch the match highlights and reaction.
WRU TV go behind the scenes with the Wales squad as they put the final touches in place ahead of the clash against Scotland at Murrayfield. Follow the squad on their captain's run, the kickers visit to Murrayfield and Neil Jenkins' press conference