Rugby World Cup
RFU bets on England World Cup success
ESPNscrum Staff
April 21, 2011
England captain Martin Johnson lifts the Webb Ellis Cup after his side's extra time win, Australia v England, World Cup final, Telstra Stadium, November 22 2003.
The RFU has gambled on a repeat of England's 2003 World Cup win ©
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Teams: England

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has placed bets totalling around £250,000 with a consortium of bookmakers on England reaching at least the semi-finals of this year's World Cup, according to a report in The Guardian.

The outlay covers £2.25 million of bonuses that the governing body may have to pay in the event of Martin Johnson's side progressing to the latter stages of the tournament. If England lift the Webb Ellis Cup - as they did in 2003 - then each member of the 30-man squad could expect to pocket a bonus of at least £50,000.

Should England fail to reach the last four of the tournament, the RFU would lose its stake - but not have to fork out any bonuses to the players.

"I am sure that we, as a professional and responsible sports governing body, are not alone in ensuring we minimise our financial risks at all times, including around tournaments such as the World Cup," an RFU spokesman said.

"This is not unique practice but rather financially prudent so that we can continue to invest in the grassroots of the sport. The details of any such arrangement are confidential."

The World Cup in New Zealand begins on September 9 this year, with England playing in Pool B, which includes Argentina, Scotland, Georgia and Romania.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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