England will host 2015 World Cup!
England have fought off rival bids from South Africa and Italy to win the right to stage the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
It will be the second time England have hosted the competition, the last time being in 1991.
The International Rugby Board (IRB) also announced that Japan will be hosts for the event in 2019.
The IRB voted 16-10 in favour of rubber-stamping the recommendation from Rugby World Cup Ltd (RWCL) that England and Japan should be named hosts.
The announcement by IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset had been widely expected after RWCL, the IRB-controlled company that oversees the tournaments, last month endorsed England and Japan as the strongest bidders.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) chairman Martyn Thomas called the decision "a relief, and also great joy for England".
PREVIOUS WORLD CUP HOSTS
1987: New Zealand (co-host with Australia)
1995: South Africa
2011: New Zealand
"We have been trusted with making a great competition and providing a great spectacle, and delivering what the IRB needs in terms of host revenue," said Thomas.
"Australia did an immense job [in 2003], France raised the bar [in 2007] and we have got to raise it again. We have got some very iconic stadia and it will be tremendous for world rugby and immense for participation in England."
The RFU says England will lay on the biggest World Cup to date, generating a surplus at least £60m larger than that of the other bids. It says three million people will watch the games live at stadiums such as Wembley, Anfield, Old Trafford and Twickenham.
The only stadium outside England to host matches will be Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, which will stage two quarter-finals and some pool matches.
However, IRB chief executive Mike Miller confirmed England's plan to use the Millennium Stadium must still be ratified by the RWCL board - and that may not happen until next March.
The RFU must make a proposal to the IRB and provide compelling reasons that meet specific criteria that are in the best interests of the game globally for taking matches outside of England.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said it was a "fantastic achievement" to win the bid and congratulated the RFU on their success.
"I'm sure the whole country will want to play their part in making this the most memorable of Rugby World Cups," he added.
The event will form part of what Brown has labelled a "golden decade" of sport in the UK.
"The Rugby World Cup is yet another tremendous event to add to the country's decade of sport and another chance to show our nation's passion for sport and what world class facilities we have to offer. I'm sure it will be a tournament to remember," said Brown.
THE UK GOLDEN DECADE OF SPORT
2010: Ryder Cup, Celtic Manor
2011: Champions League final, Wembley
2012: Olympic Games, London
2013: Rugby League World Cup
2014: Ryder Cup, Gleneagles; Commonwealth Games, Glasgow
2015: Rugby World Cup
2019: Cricket World Cup
2018 Football World Cup
RFU chairman Thomas also offered his condolences to unsuccessful rival bidders South Africa and Italy.
"We have been there before [to France for the 2007 RWC], we know how they are feeling," said Thomas.
South Africa, in particular, were upset at losing out on the recommendation of the RWCL, and had been lobbying hard ahead of Tuesday's meeting.
They had pressed home the fact they had secured government support totalling £130m - £50m more than the tournament fee - compared to the £25m Westminster has made available to the RFU.
England's package is projected to generate £300m for the IRB, who rely on the tournament for 98% of their income.
On top of the £80m tournament fee, the UK market would attract a further £220m in commercial returns from broadcasting, sponsorship and merchandising, which is understood to be at least 20% more than the bids from either South Africa or Italy.
England's Martyn Thomas (L) and Japan's Noboru Mashimo (R) celebrate the vote result
The IRB hope 2015 will bolster revenues from the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand - which is currently estimated to make an operating loss of between £20-30m.
The extra revenue will then be used as a springboard to take the sport into the emerging market of Japan four years later.
Japan's bid leaders expressed delight at winning Tuesday's vote to stage the 2019 event and become the tournament's first Asian hosts.
They narrowly missed out to New Zealand for the right to stage the event in 2011.
"The God of rugby smiled on us today," said Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) president Yoshiro Mori. "I am filled with emotion to be a part of this historic day for Japan and for rugby around the world.
"Japan has much to offer the rugby World Cup. We have a superb transport system, strong infrastructure and world-class stadiums.
"We are honoured to welcome the global rugby family to our country and for the first time ever to Asia."BBC SPORTS REPORT.
Labels: World-Cup Rugby England