Gloucester bids to become a Rugby World Cup 'Holm from home
GLOUCESTER are not just bidding to stage Rugby World Cup matches in 2015 – the City Council are pitching to host a team for the tournament too.
Kingsholm was yesterday confirmed among the list of 17 potential stadia to host matches in England's World Cup tournament.
Rugby World Cup Limited and the RFU are expected to make their final decisions early in the New Year.
But Kingsholm is the only Premiership club stadium on the shortlist.
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Gloucester City Council have also submitted an extra application to host one of the World Cup nations in the county though – with Hartpury College and Imjin Barracks potential bases.
That would see Kingsholm play host to as many as three group matches, with one national side effectively employing the ground as a 'home stadium'.
Gloucester's history of staging international matches is expected to work in the council's favour, as are the high-class sporting facilities offered at a number of locations across the county.
A Pacific Island nation could prove a good fit to use Gloucestershire as a base: the locals would certainly revel in hosting a national side big on raw power, running rugby and all-round exuberance.
The numbers would probably fit in terms of expected crowd sizes, given mammoth venues like the Millennium Stadium and Twickenham will surely be employed for the likes of Wales and England.
Gloucester Rugby for their part, are keen to do whatever they can to help push Kingsholm across the line.
Acting managing director Chris Ferguson explained: "A lot of hard work has gone into getting us this far but we are also conscious that there is still a lot of work to be done.
"The next stage of the evaluation process will take several months.
"Clearly the competition is extremely stiff, the long list of 17 venues includes Wembley, Old Trafford and the Olympic Stadium, as well as obviously Twickenham, and this must be reduced to a maximum of 12 when the venues are finally named.
"However the selection process is extremely professional and well-organised.
"I have absolutely no doubt that if Kingsholm is awarded the honour of being selected, the club, the city and the surrounding area will light up the tournament with their passionate support.
"We're one step closer and we'll now be pulling out all the stops to make the final list."