Exeter Chiefs' Sandy Park could host 2015 World Cup games
Tony Rowe has spoken of his delight after Exeter Chiefs' Sandy Park Stadium was added to the list of possible venues for the 2015 World Cup.
The Exeter venue is only the second club rugby ground on the long list, alongside Gloucester's Kingsholm.
Sandy Park has been included after it was decided the planned redevelopment of Bristol City's Ashton Gate may not make it possible to stage a game there during the tournament.
World Cup officials looked for an alternative venue in the South West and the Chiefs' home won the nod, after the support of the city council.
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It will be announced in the next few weeks whether Sandy Park will host a match in the global event.
Rowe, chairman and chief executive of the club, said: “As the Westcountry’s premier rugby club, we are delighted to have been confirmed as one of the possible match venues on the long list for Rugby World Cup 2015.
"We see this as not only a fantastic opportunity to showcase our great club to the world’s rugby fraternity, but also it provides a wonderful opportunity to bring alive not only the city of Exeter, but also our region which we know offers a significant input into the heartbeat of English rugby.
“This announcement is exciting news not just for rugby followers within the Westcountry, but for everyone living here within the region.
"We have been working incredibly closely with Exeter City Council in submitting a bid we hope will bring so much to so many people.
"Our hope now is that we will be among the venues that will be selected for what I know will be a superb Rugby World Cup here in England in 2015.”
Pete Edwards, Exeter City Council leader, added: "This is another great opportunity for Exeter to play its part at the heart of the South West in contributing to this exciting world event and to provide a great welcome to UK and international visitors.
"We are working particularly with Exeter Chiefs to try and secure the final selection of Exeter as one of the host cities for Rugby World Cup 2015 so that millions of people can get at least a glimpse of what the city and its surrounding area can offer."
Debbie Jevans, England Rugby 2015 chief executive, said, “We are very pleased to add Sandy Park to the long list of potential match venues for Rugby World Cup 2015.
"We want to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2015 is a truly national event and Sandy Park, located in the rugby heartland of the South West, gives us the option to take the tournament as far and wide as possible.
"I would like to thank Tony Rowe, chairman and chief executive of Exeter Chiefs, and Exeter City Council for their support over the last few weeks as we went through the process of adding Sandy Park to the long list.
"We are finalising venues and the match schedule in conjunction with Rugby World Cup Limited and will publish the final list in the next few weeks.”