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Newcastle ties delight Richards

Dean Richards has promised the north-east a "humdinger" of a Rugby World Cup in 2015 after St James' Park was named as one of the venues.

The home of Newcastle United Football Club will host three games in the tournament in October 2015 with South Africa taking on Scotland, reigning world champions New Zealand facing Tonga and then Samoa and the Scots meeting in a potentially decisive group stage encounter.

Newcastle Falcons' director of rugby Richards said: "Looking at it from the city's point of view and the region's point of view, you couldn't ask for three better games."

He went on: "First of all, with New Zealand coming, the current world champions, and the history and the rugby culture they bring, it will be absolutely fantastic and totally different to what a lot of people have seen before.

"Couple that with the next game and then culminating in the final game, the Samoa v Scotland game and what that could potentially mean to both sides if New Zealand go on to win what they want to win and will probably win, it could be a humdinger of a final game.

"The games that have been chosen are absolutely fantastic, especially with South Africa and the culture they bring as well."

Former England international Richards is confident Tyneside, renowned for its passion for football, will prove a fitting venue for the showcase event. He said: "There's a massive passion for rugby as well, and I think people tend to forget that.

"You only have to look at the number of clubs which play, the number of people who play at junior clubs to intermediate clubs to first-class clubs, such as your Tynedales, your Blaydons as well as your Falcons - there are some quality clubs around here and a huge amount of people who play.

"That gets forgotten a little bit. With the rugby heritage, there's no doubt in my mind that it will be a huge success. The facilities are as good as any international rugby stadium throughout the world. The pitch surface will be superb, it's the right time of year, the surface won't cut up too much. The facilities are ideal."

The Magpies' finance director John Irving added: "From the club's point of view, we are obviously very delighted and very proud to be hosting such a great world-class event here at St James' Park. The three fixtures we have been chosen for will show the stadium, the city and the club in a great light and we look forward to hosting those teams in October."


From Belfast Telegraph