Monday, October 14, 2013

Buenos Aires holds the World Record for the most international Rugby Venues

Los Pumas pre-match in Velez Sarsfeld
The campaign to bring Rugby World Cup 2023 to Argentina continues to gain ground. In addition to the country having a clear capacity of hosting the tournament it is also a country whose capital city has hosted matches at more venues than all others. In total eleven different venues in Buenos Aires have played host to test match rugby. The centre piece of Rugby World Cup 2015, London, has had nine different venues host test matches and three venues will do so in 2015 - Twickenham, Wembley and the Olympic Stadium. 



Despite having so much history in Buenos Aires the UAR is one of the global leaders in terms of taking matches to different parts of the people. In 2013 alone Argentina´s six home test matches were played in six different cities and all in stadiums that are more than suitable of hosting Rugby World Cup matches. By way of comparison England continues to play all home matches exclusively at Twickenham in London and the British capital has had the lion´s share of home fixtures throughout history. The three other home unions of Ireland, Scotland and Wales all also have a national stadium and none of them will host incoming test matches next month in a different city.

The home unions have all hosted Rugby World Cups previously and all have two votes on the IRB Counsil whilst Argentina continues to have one as does Italy but the likes of the regular World Cup competitors Fiji, USA and Romania do not have any. Such is the concentration of power within the hands of a select few that the suggestion of rugby being an Old Boys network is a commonly held view from rugby nations outside of the old Five Nations and Tri Nations competitions. The members of these nations are the founding members, all have two votes and all account for the hsoting of all Rugby World Cups from 1987-2015. 

Of the four home unions at least two have hosted matches at every second Rugby World Cup and this will continue in 2015 with Wales supporting England by hosting eight matches including two Quarter Finals. Both Wales and Scotland secured matches in 2007 which was France´s tournament while in both 1991 and 1999 a total of six locations of hosted matches - England, France, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Curiously Australia and New Zealand were opposed to Wales hosting any matches in 2015 and spoke of the poor decision that had them both play in the Welsh capital in 2007.

In addition to England winning the hosting rights over Italy and South Africa for Rugby World Cup 2015 there was an intention of bidding from both Scotland and Wales but with neither having the required infrastructure to host alone neither was able to bid. They were both considering bidding in a joint effort with one or more other unions, effectively another chance for Celtic unions to host World Cup matches. Wales ultimately won by working together with the RFU. For 2023 Ireland has already indicated that it may well bid. Should it do so it is mandatory that there are matches played outside of Dublin every year. This will not occure next month. 

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