Ruffley Supports Rugby World Cup Bid and Bid for Bury St Edmunds Rugby Football Club to Host Match in Parallel Event

Tuesday, 18 February, 2003

David Ruffley is supporting the Rugby Football Union bid for the Rugby World Cup in 2007. He has signed Early Day Motion 137 in the House of Commons congratulating the Rugby Football Union (RFU) for submitting a bid that requires no government funding.

In parallel with the World Cup, the RFU proposes to run an innovative Rugby World Nations Cup which will involve 20 teams from developing rugby nations. Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club has been selected as one of the two clubs in the Eastern Region as a venue for this parallel event should the Rugby World Cup bid be successful.

David said: 'I am delighted that Bury St Edmunds Rugby Football Club has been selected to host this prestigious event running parallel to the World Cup. It is a great achievement for the Club and the town to have been selected. I will be doing all I can to support the RFU's bid for the World Cup. As a start I have signed an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons about this bid. I have also written a letter to the Rt Hon Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, supporting the Rugby World Nations Cup Bid." (Text below)

Text of Letter to the Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP

Rugby World Nations Cup

I am writing in support of the Rugby World Nations Cup which it is proposed will run parallel to the Rugby World Cup in 2007 if England is successful in its bid.

I understand that if the Rugby Football Union (RFU) bid is chosen, the International Rugby Board (IRB) will have to make a further decision as to whether to allow the Rugby World Nations Cup (RWNC) to go ahead. I very much hope that this parallel event will have your support.

The Rugby World Nations Cup will enable countries where rugby is a developing sport to play in a world event against countries of a similar standard and thus providing an opportunity to experience playing in an international tournament.

Bury St Edmunds Rugby Football Club in my constituency has been nominated as one of the two venues in the East of England to host RWNC matches. The RFU has chosen Bury St Edmunds because geographically it is a perfect location and its stadium capacity and facilities are of a sufficiently high quality for this event. The RFU believes that the East of England is often ignored in terms of major rugby events; hosting part of the RWNC would help to redress this imbalance. They are keen to take the game of rugby to rural areas and raise the game's profile.

For the local clubs that will host this event- such as the Bury St Edmunds Rugby Football Club- it is an ideal opportunity to take part in the 'festival of rugby' which the Rugby World Cup offers. Stadia and grounds which would not be suitable for the large crowds attracted to top international matches will be able to host the international matches played by the smaller rugby nations. Clubs will be active in developing social and community involvement with the visiting teams.

Areas hosting the Rugby World National Cup will also benefit financially as well as raising the profile of rugby as a sport for all. Neither participating nations nor the IRB will be required to help fund the RWNC- the funds will come from the surpluses generated by the main Rugby World Cup tournament.

I believe the Rugby World Nations Cup has a great deal of merit and one that has my full support. It is an innovative tournament and one which I very much hope you will be able to support.

With kind regards,