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Old Trafford on course to host Rugby World Cup games
1:04pm Sunday 14th October 2012 in Sport
ENGLAND Rugby 2015 has named Manchester among 17 cities that could hold World Cup matches during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The Rugby World Cup is one of the world's most popular sporting events, attracting the third largest number of spectators of any sporting contest on the planet.
The competition will involve 48 matches and will take place over a six-week period from September 18 to October 31 2015. If successful, some of the matches will be held at Old Trafford.
England was chosen to host the Rugby World Cup in 2009 beating rivals such as South Africa and Italy.
The rugby matches would be a welcome addition to an already enviable programme of major sporting events scheduled to take place in Manchester.
Next year alone will see the city host the men's World Squash Championships, the Rugby League World Cup Final, an NBA Basketball pre-season game and the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup.
Trafford Council's executive councillor for safe and strong communities, Jonathan Coupe, said: "We would be honoured to be part of this major international event welcoming rugby teams from all over the world. It is fantastic news, although not surprising, that Old Trafford has been shortlisted for such a prestigious competition following the successful Olympic Football matches hosted at the venue this summer.
"Hosting games for the Rugby World Cup 2015 would be a great opportunity for local rugby fans and local people generally to be part of the celebrations on their doorstep and it would be truly inspiring for anyone who is interested in the sport to see world renowned players here.
"The benefits to the local economy that hosting such events bring is really positive due to the large influx of visitors they attract as well as the wider benefits such as the community engagement opportunities which inspire people to participate in sport and cultural activities.
"I look forward to the final decision being made next year when, if successful, we can finalise the details and expectations around hosting the competition."
The final selection of up to 12 venues will be announced early next year.