- Lawrence Dallaglio excited by the chance for rugby to inspire in 2015
- England will play Rugby World Cup match in Manchester
Lawrence Dallaglio is enthused by the prospect of Rugby World Cup 2015, with its dual opportunity to grow the game in this country and add another trophy to England’s cabinet.
The tournament has become a reality with organising committee England Rugby 2015 announcing the venues and schedule for rugby’s showpiece competition, which will take the sport to 13 venues in 10 cities in England and Wales.
With stadiums as far south as Exeter Chiefs’ Sandy Park and as far north as Newcastle United’s St James’ Park hosting matches, Dallaglio, whose day started with an early photo call with 13 school kids representing each host stadium, believes the tournament can leave a lasting impression.
Dallaglio, who is an ambassador for Rugby World Cup 2015, said: “It’s one of the biggest sporting events on the planet and it has the ability to inspire and change people lives, there’s no doubt about that.
“We’ve seen what the Olympics did for this country and hopefully rugby will do the same and more.
“From an England point of view there is the small matter of winning a couple of games, against Wales and Australia. But England are building, they’ll have a very decent chance and you’d be a fool to write off the hosts in the build-up to a Rugby World Cup, as history has shown.”
Photo: Getty Images
The official match schedule will see 48 matches staged in the biggest and best stadiums, which fits the mission statement of England Rugby 2015 CEO Debbie Jevans.
The former Director of Sport for LOCOG wants to place rugby at the forefront of everything the tournament does, an objective supported by the IRB’s decision to equalise the rest periods for Tier One and Tier Two/Three nations, a key factor in the integrity of the competition.
“If you asked me what the one single objective was it would be that rugby is at the heart of it,” she said. “Out there on the field of play, that’s the single most important thing we get right, for the players. They shouldn’t have to worry about anything but their performance on the pitch so throughout every decision we make, rugby will be at the heart.
“When I first joined one consistent theme in feedback was unfairness and the weighting to the top nations. When the IRB gave us the challenge of creating the schedule they wanted fairness and equality between Tier One and Tier Two nations. So when journalists and the IRB come over to me and say it is the most equitable schedule ever, that makes me very proud.”
Photo: Getty Images
England will play three matches at Twickenham Stadium – against Oceania 1 on September 18, Wales on September 26 and Australia on October 3 – before travelling to face a play-off winner at the City of Manchester Stadium on October 10.
Despite the 25-8 defeat, Dallaglio fondly remembers the experience of captaining England when they played New Zealand in Manchester in 1997 and says the players will relish the vibrancy of staging an international in the north.
Adding that he is proud of the collective efforts to schedule big games up and down the country, he said: “It’s been no mean feat to pull this schedule together and I hope people feel the geographical split is a fair one. The mix is a good one and it allows us to take rugby to as many people as possible – 92 per cent of the population is within 50 miles of a Rugby World Cup venue.
“Going to Manchester is a great thing, I’m sure the players will really look forward to going on the road and playing that game up there. It’s a great city, full of great people who will really get behind the team, they’re passionate about the nation.”