Legacy the key for RFU

PA Sport
The RFU want to use the World Cup to get more people into rugby
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The RFU want to use the World Cup to get more people into rugby

The Rugby Football Union have learned the lessons from 2003 and unveiled plans to maximise the legacy of hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup on home soil.

When England returned triumphant from Australia nine years ago, the RFU were not ready to deal with the immediate spike in interest in the sport. There were not, for example, enough coaches in the grass-roots game to handle the upsurge in participation numbers and the RFU are determined not to make the same mistake again.

"The key learning from 2003 was that we didn't plan in advance. The coaches and referees just weren't there," said Steve Grainger, the RFU's development director. "That is absolutely what we are doing now."

The RFU will invest £25million into 500 grass-roots clubs and a further £1million into qualifying 6,500 new referees and coaches and bringing 5000 volunteers into the game.

The All Schools programme is aimed at giving a million children a chance to play rugby, with a target of introducing the sport to 750 secondary state schools by 2019.

"The World Cup in 1991 was in England and we saw how the public's perception of rugby changed," said Jason Leonard, who played in that tournament and eventually won the World Cup in 2003.

"But with the legacy planning for this World Cup, we are going to hit the ground running. It is getting volunteers and clubs involved.

"I think this will be the best ever World Cup and we have got to make sure we push that all the way through. This is a great opportunity for English rugby."

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