2015 Rugby World Cup organisers plan cheaper tickets

Organisers of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England have revealed some tickets for group matches will cost under £10.

The reduced prices are considered necessary to fill northern football venues such as Old Trafford, Anfield and Newcastle's Sports Direct Arena.

Chief executive Paul Vaughan says lessons have been learned from the 2012 London Olympics about tickets and the 2011 World Cup about match scheduling.

"We will make sure it is affordable and accessible to everyone," he said.

The key figures behind the 2015 competition were at their new offices at Twickenham on Monday to mark the official launch of planning for the tournament.

There was criticism of the schedule at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, where the opening group match took place on 9 September and the final was not played until 23 October.

International Rugby Board chief executive Mike Miller said: "Sponsors and television want big games at the weekend so it makes it very difficult to get a schedule that is totally balanced.

"Europe has a different culture though. In New Zealand they are not used to big games midweek; here, we have Champions League and all sorts of other games, so it is much easier to devise a more balanced schedule."

Approximately 1.3m people watched the 2011 tournament but Vaughan hopes to more than double that figure.

"Our objective is to be the best Rugby World Cup in the history of the game," he added.

"It will be a difficult challenge. They did a fantastic job in New Zealand. We want to leave the best ever legacy, not just for England but for wider European countries as well.

"Part of the task will be to get the ticketing strategy right. We are looking to sell just under three million tickets. We have nine million people interested in the game in this country and I think it's a realistic target.

"For a number of pool matches we will start tickets at less than £10, which is a pretty good deal. We want to engage kids and people who have never seen a game before, and make sure it's affordable.

"We know that times are difficult economically but we've got to try to generate the cash. We will have a nice spread of ticket pricing, without trying to force it too heavily, and make sure it's quite accessible for most people.

"Clubs do a lot of this sort of thing and we've got to make sure we do it on a big scale."

The stadia to be used and the start and finish dates will be discussed at an IRB meeting in March and discussions are also continuing over whether Wales should be allowed to play some of their pool matches at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

In addition to Twickenham, Leicester's Welford Road and Gloucester's Kingsholm could also be used, along with football venues including Wembley, Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, Leeds United's Elland Road, Southampton's St Mary's and Coventry's Ricoh Arena.

The tournament will clash with football's Premier League season but Miller is confident enough spectators will be attracted to the tournament.

"We have a few tricks up our sleeve to get people interested in this event," he said.

"The Premier League happens week-in, week-out - this happens every four years, and once every 20, 30 or 40 in England, so this is a special event. It's a world event."

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