By:Luke Broadley WRU National Squad Media Manager
Wales head coach Warren Gatland is predicting an exciting two years ahead as the countdown begins to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Rugby’s showpiece tournament will kick-off two years today (September 18th) with eight of the competition’s matches, including two quarter-finals, to be played at the Millennium Stadium.
It will be the fourth time Cardiff welcomes the Rugby World Cup to Wales after staging matches in 1991, hosting the 1999 tournament and staging four matches during the 2007 competition which was hosted by France. Wales will play two of their pool matches at the Millennium Stadium and Gatland is looking forward to welcoming the World Cup to Wales.
“It’s an exciting time with the World Cup just two years away,” said Gatland. “There is a lot of rugby to play before but we will be working hard in the build-up as we have some unfinished business in the competition.
“We are in a tough group alongside England and Australia but from our experiences the tougher the better as if you make it out of the group you are in a good position for the knock-out stages. It’s fantastic that the Millennium Stadium has eight games and the atmosphere in Cardiff will be great and we are really excited about playing two of our pool games in front of our home supporters.”
Welsh Rugby Union Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis said: “The prospect of the Rugby World Cup coming back to the Millennium Stadium is great for Welsh rugby and great for Wales. Wales will have hosted RWC matches more times than any other nation in the rugby world, playing significant parts in 1991, 1999, 2007 and now hosting eight matches, including two quarter-finals, in 2015.
“As well as welcoming Wales for two fixtures, the stadium will be hosting some of the world’s other top rugby nations including Australia, New Zealand, France and Ireland. This feast of rugby action will deliver a huge economic boost to Welsh rugby and Wales and allow us to showcase the very best of our nation to the rest of the world.
“It has been an extraordinary year for Welsh rugby and after the success of our Rugby World Cup 2015 bid, which was won after three years of hard work and collaboration with our friends at the Rugby Football Union.”
The Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s biggest sporting events with a global TV audience in excess of four billion. There will be a total of 48 matches played, with 20 nations competing over 44 days, and the Millennium Stadium will host six pool phase matches and two quarter-finals at RWC 2015;
September 19 Ireland v Canada
September 20 Wales v Play-Off Winner
September 23 Australia v Oceania 1
October 1 Wales v Oceania 1
October 2 New Zealand v Europe 1
October 11 France v Ireland
October 17 Quarter-final 1; Winner Pool C v Runner-up Pool D
October 18 Quarter-final 3; Winner Pool D v Runner-up Pool C