Saturday 20 January 2018

Welsh World Cup 'home comfort' moves irk IRFU

Hugh Farrelly

THE IRFU have questioned IRB indications that Wales will be allowed to play their pool games at the Millennium Stadium at the next World Cup.

It had been proposed that Cardiff would host one of the World Cup quarter-finals in 2015 and now it has emerged that the IRB are open to the possibility of Wales playing their pool games at home.

"Yes, there is the issue of Wales playing at home," confirmed IRB chief executive Mike Griffiths. "For people in the west of England, it's much easier to get to Cardiff than it is to get London.

"No decision has yet been taken on use of the Millennium Stadium. That will be on the agenda for our meeting in March. Firstly we will set the dates for the tournament, then we will see what stadia are available and move forward from there."

With England supposedly the sole hosts of the tournament, if Wales were permitted this significant advantage it would raise the question of Ireland, Scotland and France being allowed similar leeway -- as happened in previous tournaments in 1991 and 1999.

Yesterday, the IRFU questioned how allowing Wales home advantage would benefit the tournament.

"The IRFU's understanding is that the successful bid for the 2015 Rugby World Cup was based on England hosting the tournament, with the Millennium Stadium hosting one of the quarter-finals," said a spokesman.

"The IRFU are not aware of any discussions or decision that has been made to change this, but would be interested to hear the rationale to play group matches outside of England that would benefit the tournament."

Irish Independent

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