The decision was finally arrived at yesterday (Thursday April 18th) and the following detail then released by the IRB.
The Council of the International Rugby Board (IRB) yesterday ratified recommendations from the Board of Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) that the finals of Rugby World Cup 2003 should be staged in Australia alone.
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.