Rugby: ARU denies Bledisloe decision made

The Australian Rugby Union have played down the likelihood of a Bledisloe Cup Test staged in the United States despite American organisers talking up the clash.

The Metro Denver Sports Commission said they were close to confirming the Wallabies-All Blacks clash to be played in Colorado at the home of the NFL's Denver Broncos late next year.

But the ARU, who are also looking at London and Tokyo as venues for the Bledisloe money-spinner, are still a fair way from deciding on a preferred host.

"There's still three options on the table for an additional Bledisloe Test next year," said an ARU spokesman.

"There's Tokyo, Denver and also the possibility of Twickenham."

The underlying concern for the ARU and the NZRU over Denver would be the prospect of not selling out the the 76,000-capacity Mile High Stadium and the match turning into a novelty event.

Rugby is only a minor sport in the USA but Commission president KieAnn Brownell said Colorado had the union community and interest to fill the regular NFL venue.

"We're pretty close," Brownell told the Rocky Mountain News. "Our job is to get out of the box, to look for events that aren't necessarily on the country's radar.

"We think Colorado has a huge rugby population and a strong interest in the sport, and we fancy the idea of bringing rugby events to Denver and growing the community here."

The Denver Barbarians compete in the national Rugby Super League and the sport's national governing body, USA Rugby, is based at the nearby university city of Boulder.

A proposal to play the Test, tentatively set for late October 2009, at Mile High Stadium was sent to the ARU and NZRU last month.

On Tokyo's side is the fact the ARU are keen to further expand the game into Asia, especially after a successful first off-shore transtasman Test in Hong Kong this month.

The match, won 19-14 by NZ, was the fourth Bledisloe Test this year and reportedly boosted both the ARU and NZRU coffers by more than $A3 ($NZ3.6) million.

Twickenham, the home of English rugby, has advantages with the large communities of Australian and Kiwi expats living in Europe.

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