England will host the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the International Rugby Board (IRB) have announced. The 26-man IRB council, meeting in Dublin today, voted to ratify a recommendation from the World Cup board that confirmed England as 2015 hosts with Japan to stage the tournament in 2019. The Rugby Football Union beat competition from South Africa and Italy after submitting a commercial package worth an estimated £300 million (Dh1.8 billion) to the global game. The 2015 World Cup will run from Sept 4 to Oct 17, when the final will be played at Twickenham. Matches will be staged in 10 cities and 12 stadiums across the country including Wembley, Old Trafford, the Emirates Stadium, Anfield and the Millennium Stadium, which is the only venue being used outside England. The last time England hosted the tournament was in 1991, when Will Carling's team were beaten in the final by Australia. Since then, rugby union has turned professional and the World Cup has developed into the globe's third biggest sporting event. Hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup is estimated by Deloittes to be worth £2.1bn to the British economy. The tournament forms a central plank of Britain's so-called "decade of sport", which also includes the 2012 Olympics, the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, the 2014 Commonwealth Games and potentially the 2018 Fifa World Cup. Between them, England and Japan landed 16 of the 26 votes in favour of rubber-stamping the Rugby World Cup Ltd (RWCL) recommendations. The recommendations made by the RWCL board were based on a detailed analysis of all bids conducted by Deloitte, IMG and legal giants Clifford Chance. An England World Cup is projected to earn the IRB £220m in broadcasting, sponsorship, hospitality and merchandising revenues which was 20 per cent higher than any other bidder. That commercial strength would also help the IRB bolster revenues from the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand which is currently estimated to make an operating loss of between £20-30m by tying television rights for both tournaments in one package. Additionally, there was also a widespread desire for rugby to break new ground by taking the 2019 World Cup to Asia after Japan were controversially overlooked for the 2011 tournament.
* PA Sport