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England in solo bid to host cup.

ENGLAND want to act as sole hosts of the Rugby World Cup in 2007, it was confirmed today. But they could be challenged by France for the rights to stage the tournament.

England acted as official hosts in 1991 but then the matches were spread around the other home Unions and France.

'There has been an expression of interest both by England and France to host the Rugby World Cup in 2007,' said Vernon Pugh, Chairman of the International Rugby Board in Dublin today.

Pugh added: 'That decision could be made in 2002 and certainly before the next World Cup which takes place in Australia and New Zealand in 2003.'

The IRB said today that they hoped rugby's 'grannygate' three will discover their fate within the next 14 days.

Welsh duo Shane Howarth and Brett Sinkinson and Scotland's Dave Hilton will have their cases heard by an independent judicial panel.

'The panel will be meeting within the next 10 days and they could come down with a decision a matter of days after,' said the IRB's Chief Executive officer Stephen Baines.

Howarth and Sinkinson have been stopped from playing for Wales in recent games because of doubts over claims they qualify via a grandfather, while Hilton was withdrawn from Scotland's squad for tomorrow's Six-Nations game against England for the same reason.

The IRB confirmed that the independent panel will have the powers to act against either the Unions or individuals.

The punishments can range from a caution, reprimand, fine or suspension from the IRB.
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Title Annotation:Rugby Union
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 2, 2000
Words:254
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