Bumper revenue for 2015 RWC expected


The competition is set to yield a record £650 million ($999 million, 883 million euros) in revenue and World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper believes the tournament could do more for the British economy than the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“The World Cup will generate £1bn of direct economic impact, £2.5bn indirect. It is probably greater than the Olympics if you take out the capital expenditure of an Olympics (the London Games cost £8.9 billion to stage),” Gosper told the Financial Times.

With the likes of London's Twickenham, the 80,000 capacity all-seater venue for the final, long known as a major rugby ground and many of the other stadiums for the tournament also well-established sites, the Rugby World Cup will require nothing like the infrastructure spend of the London Olympics.

But just as the much-hyped 'legacy' element of the Games has proved hard to quantify in practice, quite what the long-term sporting benefits to rugby union in general and the English game in particular of this year's World Cup are difficult to forecast at this stage.

It has become an article of faith amongst organisers that a good run by a host nation at a World Cup has a key bearing on the success of the tournament.

England now find themselves in a 'group of death' also featuring Australia and Wales, with at least one of the trio set to miss the quarter-finals as only two teams qualify from each pool.

International coaches tend to be judged solely on their results and, to that end, make sure to select their strongest available side.

But England's Stuart Lancaster, brought in to change a culture of a team regarded as cut adrift from its fans during a mediocre 2011 World Cup, has not been afraid to drop players for reasons other than form or fitness.

So it was that Manu Tuilagi was removed from World Cup consideration by Lancaster last month after being found guilty of assaulting two female police officers and a taxi driver after a late night out in Leicester.

“As role models and ambassadors for the game, the highest standards of behaviour are expected from every England player both on and off the field,” Lancaster said when announcing Tuilagi's exclusion.

It was more of a purely rugby issue that led Lancaster to drop Dylan Hartley from his plans after the England hooker's latest disciplinary indiscretion – a four-week ban for headbutting Saracens' Jamie George in Northampton's Premiership final defeat.

That meant Hartley would miss England's three World Cup warm-up games and the tournament opener against Fiji at Twickenham on September 18.

There are those who argue Tuilagi's absence, something the team have become used to while he has been sidelined with a longstanding groin injury, will lead England to play a more rounded game rather than rely on his battering ram power.

Defence, rather than attack, has tended to have the upper hand in an age where winning the World Cup has become the key test of a major team's success.

When the World Cup was established, it was hoped it would act as a way of spreading the game beyond the sport's traditional nations.

But while New Zealand's 8-7 win over France in the 2011 World Cup final was a match purists found engrossing, the 'game of inches' was a hard one to sell to a non-rugby audience, unlike Rugby Sevens which makes its Olympic debut next year.

One of the fascinations of this World Cup will be whether twice champions New Zealand can win the tournament on foreign soil for the first time and by playing the dynamic rugby that has served them so well of late.

This season has seen concussion – with instances up 59 percent in the English Premiership alone – become a major talking point in the world game.

However, in an era of ever-more powerful players, whether there is anything rugby's rule-makers can, or should, do to make such incidents far less common remains a thorny issue. – AFP

Original source: Bumper revenue for 2015 RWC expected