Rugby World Cup games to be played in Newcastle not Sunderland

THREE GAMES ... St James's Park.
THREE GAMES ... St James's Park.

NEWCASTLE United will host three games at the 2015 Rugby World Cup – but rivals Sunderland have missed out on the games.

Tournament organisers revealed St James’s Park as one of 13 venues for the competition today.

However Sunderland, Coventry, Bristol, Derby and Southampton, who were on the original long list of venues, have all been omitted from the final list.

Scotland will play two matches at St James’s Park, including eye-catching fixtures against South Africa and Samoa, while defending world champions Nez Zealand will also be in action at Newcastle.

The date and list of games on Tyneside are:

Sat Oct 3: South Africa v Scotland (Pool B)

Fri Oct 9: New Zealand v Tonga (Pool C)

Sat Oct 10: Samoa v Scotland (Pool B)

England Rugby 2015 chief executive Debbie Jevans said: “The world can now start planning for Rugby World Cup 2015.

“In less than two and a half years’ time, we will be welcoming the world to England and to a celebration of rugby, played in a range of atmospheric stadiums right across the country.”

The 13 venues selected are: Twickenham (10 matches); Wembley Stadium (two matches); Olympic Stadium (five matches); Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (eight matches); Etihad Stadium, Manchester (one match); St James’ Park, Newcastle (three matches); Elland Road, Leeds (two matches); King Power Stadium, Leicester (three matches); Villa Park, Birmingham (two matches); Kingsholm, Gloucester (four matches); stadiummk, Milton Keynes (three matches); Amex Stadium, Brighton (two matches) and Sandy Park, Exeter (three matches).

Rugby World Cup chairman Bernard Lapasset said the announcement was “an important milestone”.

He added: “We have also worked hard with all stakeholders to deliver a match schedule that is fair and balanced for all teams and that will provide the stage for the world’s finest players from 20 nations to perform to the best of their ability during a six-week festival of world-class rugby.”

Tickets for the 48-match tournament will go on sale next year.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson said: “Rugby World Cup in 2015 is another great global sports event coming to the UK.

“It has the full backing of Government and will be fantastic for rugby in this country encouraging more people to get involved.

“There is also a great tourism opportunity to make the most of with matches being played across the country.”