Eales backs Aussie 2027 World Cup bid to benefit USA, Russia
SPOTLIGHT: Australia’s 1999 Rugby World Cup-winning captain John Eales says his country hosting the tournament in 2027 for a third occasion will also be beneficial for the United States, Russia and others interested in organising the event for the first time.
Speaking in Paris to launch a players committee for the competition held in France in two years’ time, which also includes the likes of former Wales captain Gareth Thomas as well as former Les Bleus backs Philippe Sella and Yannick Jauzion, Eales pointed out the example of Japan.
They failed with an attempt to host the 2011 event before reaching the quarterfinals on home soil two years ago.
“They didn’t win it that time and won the rights for 2019 and did a fantastic job,” 51-year-old Eales said.
“Do you take it to an established country or do you grow the game by taking it somewhere else? I don’t think you can look at those two as mutually exclusive.
“There are ways to grow the game internationally by having it in Australia. World Rugby needs to keep considering and look at every bid on its merits,” he added.
In April, Rugby Australia announced it had recorded a net deficit of $19.9 million for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australia held the 1987 World Cup alongside New Zealand and the 2003 edition alone.
Eales led the side to their last Webb Ellis trophy success and said a Wallabies victory in France in less than 24 months’ time would give the sport a lift in Australia.
“Even in those lean times we’ve had some good moments but we haven’t been able to win another World Cup,” former lock Eales said.
“It would be a great boost for the game in Australia. Australian sporting followers like supporting winners and over the years they’ve had a lot of teams who have been winning and they’ve had the focus.
“Winning the World Cup in 2023 would be a huge boost as well,” he added before the January 14 deadline for bids with the winner announced by May 2022.
This weekend, Eales’ focus will be on Cardiff, where he won the World Cup in 1999, with the Wallabies playing Wales in the penultimate match of their end of year tour after last weekend’s loss to England.
The visitors will be without captain Michael Hooper through to injury and centre Samu Kerevi due to his commitments with his Japanese club.
Both individuals have been nominated for World Rugby’s player of the year award, alongside France captain Antoine Dupont and England lock Maro Itoje.
“They’re such great, consistent players. Michael Hooper has hardly missed a game. He’s so consistent in the way he performs week in, week out,” Eales said.
“I’ve never seen Michael Hooper have a bad game, it would be nice if he has a chance at winning it,” he added.