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England exit not a World Cup worry

Rugby World Cup organisers say it will make no difference to the success of the tournament if England are knocked out in the group stage.

Stuart Lancaster's England side are in a tough pool with Australia and Wales - with only two going through to the knock-out rounds.

World Rugby's chief executive Brett Gosper said this week that an early England exit - such as happened in the Cricket World Cup - was "not the words we want to hear" at the rugby tournament which is being hosted by England and Wales in September and October.

Debbie Jevans, chief executive of England 2015 Rugby World Cup, said she would like an England v All Blacks final but that it would not matter to the tournament if England failed in the group stage.

Jevans, speaking at the Sport Pro Live conference in London, told Press Association Sport: "As a fan I would be very upset, but from a delivery perspective we are genuinely looking at it as delivering for 20 teams and making sure they can all compete to the best of their ability.

"Of course you think about it when you look at the tough group England are in and the impact that may or may not have, but I think our job as an organising committee is to make sure that we deliver an event that is the best it can be over the whole six weeks of the tournament.

"From our perspective it doesn't make a difference. Our focus is not about who wins or who is in the final, that said if someone gave us England v New Zealand we would take it.

"When you look at the ticket sales we knew the England matches would go quickly but when you look at the ticket sakes across the whole piece and we only have 10 matches still on sale I think that demonstrates how the whole country is getting behind the event.

"Be it Namibia, Romania, Australia, Wales, Ireland, Scotland or USA, those tickets have gone incredibly well. In fact, our biggest selling ticket so far has been Argentina v New Zealand so I am not at all concerned about England being the sole focus of the Rugby World Cup, not at all."

Gosper, from Australia, had tweeted after England's cricket World Cup upset at the hands of Bangladesh, saying: "England fail to exit pool in World Cup?...Not the words we want to hear during #RWC2015".

Wales head coach Warren Gatland responded saying he was "surprised" by Gosper's comments. England are in the same pool as Wales, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.

"We are a little bit surprised by the tweet," said Gatland.

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