RFU Rejects Millenium Stadium Offer

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By Nick Howson | December 5, 2012 3:42 AM EST

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie has refuted suggestions England's World Cup 2015 pool match against Wales could be staged at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Both teams were paired together in the pool phase of the competition in three years' time, along with 1991 and 1999 winners Australia.

Following the draw, Roger Lewis, the chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, offered to host the match at the Millennium Stadium, one of 17 stadia included on the long list by England Rugby 2015 due to be whittled down next year.

"We would be very welcoming host," Lewis said. "Everything must be up for discussion because it is the finest rugby stadium in the world.

"It is very important to remember that Wales was included in England's bid - for matches in the Millennium Stadium. We will extend a big welcome to anyone."

However, Ritchie has kindly rejected the offer stating that Twickenham would instead be an ideal venue for such an event.

"We appreciate the kind offer and it's a lovely place to go and play rugby but we do have a nice stadium of our own," Ritchie told BBC Sport.

"We think it's a great place to come and play rugby as well. It's not purely an RFU decision, the Rugby World Cup board look at it, all sorts of considerations need to happen.

"But obviously we would be extremely keen to play the match here and think that we can provide a great setting for a great game.

"The Rugby World Cup board has to look at all of that, not just what happens to be a very high profile game," Ritchie added. "We will happily make our views clear on that and we'll see what comes out in about three months.

"It's always important for all of us to have a sense of humour in terms of making that invitation, but we feel we have a decent spot here to play rugby and we would be delighted to host it here as well.

"The lovely thing about the draw is that it's already engaging people to think about 2015."

Wales are also seeking to play the other crunch match against Australia in Cardiff, where home advantage in a tournament format would prove significant in a pool already dubbed 'the group of death'.

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