Memorandum submitted by the Rugby Football
RWC 1999 SUMMARY
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||69,000
|England v New Zealand||71,000
|England v Fiji||59,000
|South Africa v Australia||71,000
|New Zealand v France||68,000
|New Zealand v Italy||Huddersfield
|Italy v Tonga||Leicester
|New Zealand v Tonga||Brisol
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.