‘Game on’: World Cup coming to Australia

Nick Farr-Jones and David Campese hold up the World Cup in 1991 at Twickenham. Picture: AFP

Australia is set to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup after being confirmed as the preferred candidate by World Rugby.

The announcement follows a World Rugby Council meeting overnight, where a recommendation from the Rugby World Cup Limited Board was accepted to work exclusively with Australia to finalise a hosting model for the 2027 edition of the tournament.

After a concerted campaign led by former Wallabies including Phil Kearns, Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan called the nomination a huge step forward for “rebooting the game in Australia”.

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“Throughout this process, we’ve held the genuine belief the time was right to bring the Rugby World Cup back to our shores,” he said.

“The team at Rugby Australia have worked hard on this for a number of years and today’s announcement is great reward for those efforts.

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan and executive director, Rugby World Cup 2027 bid Phil Kearns with the Wallabies at ANZ Stadium. Picture: Stuart Walmsley / Rugby Australia
Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan and executive director, Rugby World Cup 2027 bid Phil Kearns with the Wallabies at ANZ Stadium. Picture: Stuart Walmsley / Rugby Australia

“Through this hard work … we’ve been able to get to a position where we can demonstrate to World Rugby that we’re a safe pair of hands and the obvious choice to host RWC 2027.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and we’re now closer than ever before to making that dream a reality. Game on for Australia 2027!”

Kearns, a veteran of 67 Tests, said Australia was ready to host its third World Cup.

“We’ve hosted Olympic games before, we’ve hosted Rugby World Cups before, we’ve hosted Cricket World Cups before, Commonwealth Games, you know, millions of events,” he said.

“We’ve got the stadia ready to go and some of those are brand new stadia around the country as well, so we think we’re a safe pair of hands to get a great economic result but also a great social result for World Rugby.”

Kearns said the World Cup presented an “amazing” opportunity for young Australian rugby players.

“I’ve chatted to kids in the pre-amble and in some of our promotional work. When you’re a 15-year-old and you can see that the World Cup is only six years away and that potentially, as a 21-year-old, you could be playing in that World Cup, you can see the excitement in their eyes.

“It’s a massive boost.”

Australia last hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2003 with New Zealand when the Wallabies lost a heartbreaking final to England, 20-17.

Australia lost to England in the 2003 World Cup final in Australia.
Australia lost to England in the 2003 World Cup final in Australia.

Rugby Australia will now work in an exclusive partnership with World Rugby to further develop the tournament model ahead of a final World Rugby Council vote in May next year.

Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos said the planning would start now to deliver the best possible tournament.

“It certainly is a very exciting day for Rugby Australia,” he said.

“For the game and this country, it’s a really significant milestone and one that is to be celebrated.

“We now have the opportunity over the coming months to work with our colleagues at World Rugby to develop the optimal model for delivering Rugby World Cup 2027 in a way which will help foster the continued growth of the game not only in Australia but in our region and globally.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to the incredible work of a lot of people at Rugby Australia over the last three years since the organisation first set its sights on hosting the tournament again.”

Marinos said the benefits of hosting the World Cup extended beyond boosting rugby’s profile in Australia.

“As all countries are emerging and coming out of the pandemic, this is going to be another oppportunity for Australia as a country to showcase itself on the international stage as a tourist destination,” he said.

“The hosting of the third-biggest global sporting event will not only reposition Australia on the sporting map and deliver a boost to our economy but provide us with an opportunity to showcase once again our magnificent country.

“We’re conscious there is still much work to do and we certainly won’t be resting on our laurels. We look forward to continuing to work with World Rugby over the coming months to ensure we can deliver a compelling proposition for the council’s consideration ahead of its final decision in May next year.”

Federal minister for sport Richard Colbeck said he was eager for the World Cup to return to Australia.

“The Rugby World Cup 2027 would be yet another opportunity to showcase our strength as an international host,” he said.

“It is an exciting and ambitious prospect that will boost Rugby across Australia as well as provide enormous economic benefits to our nation.”

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