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England, Wales begin mind games ahead of 2015 World Cup

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Associated Press
12/4/2012 9:37:23 AM
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LONDON -- Already pitched into the toughest pool for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, England is now faced with the prospect of playing one of its matches in Wales -- against Wales -- at its own tournament.

Monday's draw produced one of the most intriguing pools in the tournament's history, with the English and Welsh -- fierce rugby rivals -- herded together with two-time winner Australia. It has also thrown up a logistical nightmare for organizers.

England is the host team but relied on financial support from Wales to get the tournament. The Welsh now want some payback and are calling for their games to be played at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium -- including the match against England.

"It is very important to remember that Wales was included in England's bid for matches in the Millennium Stadium," said Roger Lewis, chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union. "What was pencilled in was eight games and I think they (England) would embrace the opportunity to play in the finest rugby stadium in the world."

Wales' cheeky attempt was rebuffed, as expected, by England on Tuesday.

"We appreciate the kind offer and it's a lovely place to go and play rugby but we do have a nice stadium of our own," Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie said. "It's always important for all of us to have a sense of humour in terms of making that invitation, but we feel we have a decent spot here to play rugby."

The RFU, however, do not have the final say and organizers have yet to rule out the scenario.

"I am not going to say one way or the other," ER2015 chief executive Debbie Jevans said. "I understand where Roger is coming from.

"Now we know what the draw is we can go away and look at the appropriate venues for the appropriate matches."

The match schedule and venues will be published in March next year.

Rugby (Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
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