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Rugby World Cup 2015 venues announced

The London Olympic Stadium and English soccer's Wembley home were named on Monday as potential hosts of 2015 rugby World Cup matches, sparking a backlash as organisers plumped for seating capacity over rugby heritage.

Only three rugby grounds - Kingsholm, the Millennium Stadium and Twickenham - have been included on the long list of venues for the tournament.

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All we have so far is a 17-strong list of possible locations, notable for the almost complete absence of rugby stadiums, which has already irritated a lot of people.

Leicester, in particular, are stamping their Tiger feet at the exclusion of Welford Road from the long list.

"Welford Road has hosted many major occasions over the years, including visits from South Africa, Australia and Argentina national teams in recent seasons," Leicester club chairman Peter Tom said in a statement.

"It is home to the best-supported and most successful club in the history of the professional game in this country and, as such, we believe is worthy of Rugby World Cup status.

"That the organisers of RWC2015 do not think this an appropriate venue is disappointing and confusing both for the professional club game in this country and for its supporters."

England Rugby 2015 Chief Operating Officer Ross Young said that the pitch at Welford Road was not big enough to meet World Cup specifications once television camera positions were factored in.

"We're talking about a world event and we're talking about giving as many people as possible access to games," Young said.

The list of 10 to 12 venues will be finalised early in 2013, after the tournament match schedule has been formulated.


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