Cash-strapped Australia want to host mini World Cup
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Cash-strapped Rugby Australia has thrown up the prospect of hosting a mini World Cup during July for the Southern Hemisphere rugby-starved fans.
With France due to tour Australia in July and the Rugby Championship featuring South Africa, Argentina, and NZ set to go ahead in 2021, the prospect of a mini World Cup doesn’t seem far fetched.
RA chairman Hamish McLennan plans to ask other nations to also join, with the proposed tournament to run in parallel with the Rugby Championship.
“We are still expecting the Rugby Championship to go ahead this year but perhaps we can add to it and create a mini World Cup,” McLennan told the Financial Times.
“We have the French [coming] in July but if anyone else wants to come out, great. We have a significant British and Irish population here and South Africans. We are open to creating a new tournament and keeping the international calendar going.”
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South Africa didn’t make it to Australia in 2020 for the Rugby Championship due to player welfare concerns and logistical difficulties.
It remains unclear whether the world champions are definite starters for this year’s edition.
European and South African rugby calendars remain up in the air due to the growing spread of COVID-19.
Australia has been one of the best countries in the world at handling the pandemic, and the prospect of sizeable crowds at international rugby matches has the potential to generate much-needed income for the sport.
The next official rugby World Cup will be held in France in 2023.