Wales launch audacious bid to switch 2015 World Cup clash with England to Cardiff

WELSH rugby chiefs hope to persuade World Cup hosts England to stage the group game between the Six Nations rivals at the Millennium Stadium, after they were both drawn in the same pool for the 2015 tournament yesterday.

A challenging group also includes Australia and is likely to feature Fiji in one of two unconfirmed spots, with only the top two progressing to the quarter-finals.

Wales pledged to host eight matches in Cardiff as part of the English bid and the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has launched an audacious attempt to convince England chiefs to switch the fixture from Twickenham.

“Nothing should be off the table,” said WRU chief executive Roger Lewis. “I would like to think they would embrace the opportunity to play at the finest rugby stadium in the world. It is also important to remember the eight games is in the bid document.”

England head coach Stuart Lancaster indicated he would prefer the home advantage of an 80,000-strong crowd. “I don’t know what the situation is, but from our point of view, Twickenham is our preferred venue,” he added.

However chief executive of England Rugby 2015 Debbie Jevans said: “We are not ruling anything in or out at this stage. Everything must be put up to discussion.”

England lost 19-12 at home to Wales earlier this year during the Six Nations and also fell to fellow Pool A contenders Australia 20-14 at Twickenham during the autumn internationals.

“It’s definitely a pretty tough pool,” said Lancaster. “Once we knew there was a chance of us being drawn against Wales, I guess it was fate – it was always going to happen.

“To win the World Cup you have to win big games and I have a huge amount of respect for what Wales have done recently.”