By Tom Degun

Olympic-StadiumOctober 9 - The London 2012 Olympic Stadium in Stratford has been shortlisted as one of 17 venues to host matches at the England 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The £486 million ($777 million/€603 million) venue, which took centre stage during the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer, appears a strong candidate to host World Cup matches after impressing at London 2012.

However, the shortlist is only the preliminary stage of the process and the final list of 10 to 12 venues that will be used for the competition will be named in early 2013 after the tournament match schedule has been formulated.

"The selection of the long list of potential venues represents an exciting milestone for Rugby World Cup 2015, when fans up and down the country can begin to get excited about the prospect of one of sport's greatest events coming to their local city or town," said England Rugby 2015 chairman Andy Cosslett.

"Our vision for Rugby World Cup 2015 is to ensure that we take this prestigious tournament to as many parts of the country as possible and we believe that the geographical spread of venues selected will enable us to maximise the reach of the tournament.

"In addition, we will be selecting further venues for training and team base camps that will ensure that the rugby community is at the very heart of Rugby World Cup 2015."

usain-bolt-jsJamaica’s Usain Bolt was one of the many stars who helped light up the Olympic Stadium at London 2012

The Olympic Stadium is already scheduled to host the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships and there is currently a bidding process going on to decide on the primary long-term tenants for the venue.

The four shortlisted bidders are Premier League club West Ham, League One club Leyton Orient, Intelligent Transport Services in association with Formula One, and UCFB College of Football Business.

A decision is set to be made before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, just three of the venues shortlisted for the 2015 Rugby World Cup are designated rugby venues in the form of Gloucester's Kingsholm, Cardiff's the Millennium Stadium and London's Twickenham.

The Premier League home grounds of Manchester United, Newcastle, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Southampton are also on the shortlist alongside Wembley Stadium.

wembley-stadiumWembley Stadium has been shortlisted to host matches at the England 2015 Rugby World Cup

The shortlist is completed by the Amex Stadium in Brighton, Bristol City's Ashton Gate, Pride Park in Derby, Coventry's Ricoh Arena, Elland Road in Leeds and Stadium MK in Milton Keynes.

England Rugby 2015 must sell 2.9 million tickets to cover the £80 million ($128 million/€99 million) guarantee owed to the International Rugby Board (IRB).

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]