Poms take on SA bid

British prime minister Gordon Brown has backed England’s 2015 Rugby World Cup bid where they will come up against South Africa.

Earlier this month sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile assured Saru of government backing, and now Brown has done the same for the English.

Speaking to RFU officials as well as English players at 10 Downing Street, Brown was confident England would be deemed better prospects than South Africa, Italy, Japan and Scotland.

“I believe that rugby is one of the great sports and I also believe we can win the Rugby World Cup [bid for] this country in 2015,” said Brown.

“I hope that you [the RFU] will be able to persuade other countries that the Rugby World Cup should come here.

“I am here to support people who were part of the 2007 World Cup team when you played South Africa [in the final], having already beaten France and Australia.

“I was very proud to be in Paris that day when you took on the South Africans and performed so well.”

RFU management board chairman Martyn Thomas met with sports minister Andy Burnham in order to get the financial support needed – estimated at £86m.

“I am pleased to say Andy Burnham has indicated he is very happy to sit down with us and give us some support,” said Thomas.

“There seem to be potentially two other countries that are likely to be strong contenders where their government has come very strongly to say they will, as we are told, underwrite the bid totally. One is in Europe and one in South Africa,” he said.

“I have had a very positive meeting with Andy Burnham who is the boss and with Gordon Brown who is the ultimate boss! Certainly Andy is very supportive in helping us win the Rugby World Cup.

“England will bid for the World Cup. We have certainly had very good discussions with the Welsh in terms of using the facilities they have, particularly the Millennium Stadium but also the Ospreys and maybe the new Cardiff stadium.”

The hosts will be announced on 28 July.