City is ready to have a ball

Sandy Park will play host to three Rugby World Cup matches in 2015

Sandy Park will play host to three Rugby World Cup matches in 2015 - Credit: Archant

In the first of a 12-month series in which Devon Life partners with Visit Devon, the tourism body for the county, we feature the big news around Exeter

Shopping in Exeter is a fantastic experience

Shopping in Exeter is a fantastic experience - Credit: Archant

The Rugby World Cup is heading to Exeter with the Exeter Chiefs’ stadium Sandy Park confirmed as one of the 13 match venues for the prestigious international tournament in 2015.

Sandy Park prepares for Rugby World Cup 2015

Sandy Park prepares for Rugby World Cup 2015 - Credit: Archant

The eyes of the rugby world will be on Exeter as the Premiership Rugby ground plays hosts to three Rugby World Cup matches.

Scheduled fixtures planned for the 12,600 capacity Sandy Park will see Tonga take on the qualifiers of the Africa One qualifying group on Tuesday, 29 September. After which the winners of the Africa One and Europe One qualifying groups will tackle one another on Wednesday, 7 October; with the final fixture on Sunday, 11 October featuring Italy against the Europe Two qualifier.

The match schedule will see 25 matches played in two dedicated rugby venues, seven in multi-event stadia and 16 in football venues.

The 13 Match Venues selected from the long list of 17 named in October 2012, including Sandy Park, took into account geographical spread, sporting and facilities criteria, support from host cities, and capacity requirements to deliver the best possible platform for a fully engaging world class tournament for fans and teams.

The vision for Rugby World Cup 2015 outlines the tournament as a celebration of rugby and its unique values, exciting and inspiring our nation and the world to play and support the game.

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Tony Rowe chairman and chief executive of Exeter Rugby Club, says: “The news that Sandy Park and the city of Exeter have been selected as a Rugby World Cup host city is fantastic news not only for everyone associated with the club, but also Exeter, Devon and the South West as a whole.

“Bringing the World Cup to our doorsteps is a massive achievement and again highlights how we as a club are now seen by others within the game. We look to offer the perfect venue for the game’s premier tournament.”

Pete Edwards, Exeter City Council Leader, adds: “This is fantastic news for Exeter. This puts Exeter on the world map and the city will be doing its uppermost to contribute to this thrilling sporting event and provide a genuinely warm welcome to UK and international visitors.”

Visitors to Exeter during the world class event will be encouraged to experience some non-rugby pursuits including the Exe Estuary Cycle Trail, walking, climbing, off-road driving, kite surfing, kayaking as well as visiting some of the beautiful towns and villages in Heart of Devon.

Victoria Hatfield, Heart of Devon Economy and Tourism Manager, explains: “Exeter is a fantastic city at the heart of Devon offering high quality cultural, shopping and leisure activities as well as providing the perfect jumping off point for a high quality short break in the county.

“We hope visitors will bring the family and turn the event into a fantastic holiday experience for all.”