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Australia ditch 2015 Rugby World Cup bid

  • Story Highlights
  • Australian Rugby Union chiefs scrap plans to bid to host 2015 World Cup
  • Officials vote on the venues for both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups on July
  • England, Italy, South Africa and Japan in frame with Aussies debating 2019
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(CNN) -- Australian Rugby Union hierarchy have scrapped plans to challenge for the right to host the 2015 World Cup and are still debating whether or not to go for 2019.

ARU chief executive John O'Neill has ruled out a bid for the 2015 World Cup and is still undecided about 2019.

ARU chief executive John O'Neill has ruled out a bid for the 2015 World Cup and is still undecided about 2019.

ARU chief executive John O'Neill reckons economic factors make Europe the logical next destination after New Zealand host the tournament in 2011.

The International Rugby Board will vote on the venues for both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups on July 28 this year.

England's potential bid received the initial backing of sports minister Andy Burnham, while the RFU's main rivals -- Italy, South Africa and Japan -- have all received full government support.

"We won't bid for 2015," confirmed O'Neill, who was the driving force behind Australia's successful staging of the 2003 World Cup.

"France were so hugely successful (as hosts in 2007) and the nature of the tournament in New Zealand will not be anywhere near the financial success.

"It will no doubt be a successful tournament, but I think it's impossible for New Zealand to produce the same financial result that France did.

"So then it's not too difficult to conclude that it has to go back to the northern hemisphere."

Television and commercial deals would be more valuable if the tournament is played in a time zone suitable for the major European rugby nations.

The International Rugby Board will vote on the venues for both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups on July 28 this year.

It is understood IRB delegates could be more willing to consider taking the tournament into a new territory in 2019 if they have guaranteed a significant income from 2015.

O'Neill added Australia would back Japan's bid for 2019 if they decided against running themselves.

"Japan will have our support. They're bidding for both (World Cups), but I tend to think their best chance is 2019," said O'Neill.

Australia always looked unlikely to pursue their initial interest in 2015 and chiefs are debating whether they can commit to hosting the 2019 tournament because of the £96 million guarantee demanded by the IRB.

"It's a very brave person who's going to put their hand up and tell you what the exchange rate is going to be between the Aussie dollar and the pound in 10 years' time -- let alone all the other risks," said O'Neill.

"We're working hard in trying to make the numbers work but the numbers are horrendously difficult to justify with that level of tournament fee."

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