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Australia To Host RWC Alone

Australia To Host RWC Alone

09/04/02.Australia’s bid to stage the 2003 Rugby World Cup has received the green light from the tournament’s organisers and now just needs to be ratified by the IRB which meets this weekend.

Australian Rugby Union’s (ARU) proposal to drop New Zealand as co-hosts of the 48-match tournament and go it alone was approved by the board of Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) on Monday. But one major hurdle remains.
The RWCL decision still has to ratified by the council of the
International Rugby Board (IRB), the game’s ruling body, which meets in Dublin this weekend.

“The details provided by the ARU have been considered by the RWC Board and
deemed to be an acceptable proposal,” an RWC statement said. “This will be put forward to the IRB Council for consideration next week together with any other options.”

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Australia, with the backing of RWCL, the IRB’s World Cup arm, last month withdrew their offer to let New Zealand co-host the tournament after the Kiwis refused to sign the sub host union agreement because of concerns over their ability to provide venues clean of pre-booked advertising and

RWCL gave Australia 21 days to provide an alternative plan for staging the tournament alone, despite New Zealand pleas to reinstate them as co-hosts.

The RWCL board, comprised of Vernon Pugh (Wales), Malcolm Phillips (England), Jacques Laurans (France), Rian Oberholzer (South Africa) and Rob Fisher (New Zealand), finally approved Australia’s new proposal during a telephone hook-up on Sunday, the ARU said.

Although the IRB still has to give its approval to the new proposal, the RWCL’s decision to support Australia’s plan is a blow to New Zealand’s attempts to be reinstated as co-hosts.

However, the RWC statement on Monday seemed to leave the door ajar for
consideration of any New Zealand alternative plan.

The ARU spokesman said New Zealand Rugby Football Union chief executive David Rutherford telephoned ARU boss John O’Neill last week to arrange a meeting to discuss the World Cup but O’Neill told him the decision was up to the IRB.