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World Cup decision still hurts

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We didn't think it was right at the time and, even after three well-received games at the home of our neighbours, there is no reason for us to think it is right now.Watching smaller stadiums like those at Gloucester and Exeter – the Chiefs were awarded the fixtures despite not having one of the stands in place this time last year – host fixtures and become attached to their visitors has not been easy to take. Fair enough, neither has a major football stadium in the same postcode but, hey, that’s not our fault.   Seeing places like Elland Road in Leeds, where the 15-man code has struggled to attract a major following, and St James’s Park in Newcastle, in use has left a sour taste too.   The Rugby World Cup is a great event, we all know that and appreciate it. We celebrate the opportunity for the world at large to notice our sport for all the good it brings, like teamwork, respect for match officials, no segregation of fans and the general entertainment from seeing the best in each country come together over six weeks of intense and tough competition.   None of that, though, means we have to agree with the decisions made a couple of years ago to ignore the home of the Tigers as a World Cup venue.   The Tig enjoyed the Tigers World Cup Fanzone events because Welford Road is where my love of the game developed, not at the home of our next-door neighbours. They are doing well in their own sport, good luck to them. It is great to see the city represented at the top end in two major sports. But leave the rugby to us at the Tigers.   The Tig has absolutely no shame in saying that much of the resentment at the decision to exclude the Tigers is pure jealousy.   Just think what it would have been like to share in Japan’s win over South Africa at our own home, or in Romania’s glorious comeback victory, or the sheer excitement of the Uruguayans when they claimed a World Cup try. Or revel in the joy of the Georgian forwards taking on tier one nations up front. If that happens on your home ground you are honour-bound to build a relationship with the game. If you’re on the outside, you have to look elsewhere.   We’ve had our moments: the win over world champions South Africa in 2009/10 for example, the visit of the Maori, the return of the Barbarians last year, or this season’s match against a Pumas side just two weeks before they took on the All Blacks. Great moments all, and every one of them also a perfect example of why we deserve more in the future.