Greenwood: North West to get boost
Manchester City fan Will Greenwood believes the Etihad Stadium's selection as a host venue for the 2015 World Cup will be a major boost to rugby in the North West.
Tournament organisers have faced criticism for only scheduling six of the 48 matches in the north, having pledged to engage the whole country in the World Cup. England's final Pool A match will be played in Manchester, Scotland tackle Samoa and South Africa in Newcastle and Leeds' Elland Road will host two fixtures.
"As a faithful fan (of Manchester City) and a big rugby guy it is absolutely superb," Greenwood told mcfc.com. "It highlights our initiative and vision to spread rugby to as may places as possible, to allow as many people as possible to see the World Cup."
He added: "The vision for this World Cup, the legacy is to spread the values of rugby but also get more people playing, more coaches and supporters."
England's first three World Cup fixtures, against likely Oceania qualifiers Fiji, Wales and Australia, will be at Twickenham before they head to Manchester.
Stuart Lancaster has made a point of trying to engage with local rugby communities since taking over as England head coach, holding open training sessions and seminars in Leeds.
"Taking England to the north is something we'll relish. It's an area that's full of passion and pride with huge numbers of people playing and involved in the game, and I know we'll get great support," Lancaster said.
"All over the country, from St James' Park in the North East to Sandy Park in the South West, the world's best will be on show in 2015 and for all of us involved in rugby that represents a great opportunity for the game."
ER2015 were forced to lean more heavily on the Olympic Stadium and Millennium Stadium in order to maximise ticket revenues after Manchester United withdrew Old Trafford from the mix. But tournament chief executive Debbie Jevans insisted the World Cup will still be a national event.
"We have three big stadia in London but we have taken the game through the whole country and we are proud of that fact," she said. "We really wanted to take England to the north west and we are delighted Manchester City came to the table."