Why Australia is a 'safe pair of hands' for 2027 World Cup
SPOTLIGHT: Australia is a “safe pair of hands” to stage the 2027 World Cup, the country’s top rugby administrator said Wednesday as it competes with the United States to host the event.
The Southern Hemisphere nation last staged the tournament in 2003, when England beat the Wallabies in the final. Australia also co-hosted the inaugural 1987 edition with New Zealand.
“We’re a known rugby nation, so we have got a rich heritage,” Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan said in London, where the Wallabies play England at Twickenham on Saturday.
“Tourists and fans love coming to Australia so we know we’re a safe pair of hands, will do it professionally and be able to deliver the financial returns to World Rugby.”
McLennan said rugby, by contrast, was a “relatively immature sport” in the United States, who suffered a 14-104 defeat to New Zealand last month.
“You saw the score for the US team against the All Blacks – I think they need time to invest in their team and build their stocks up,” he said.
“At some point it would be great to have it there, but you want it to be a success.”
Members of the Australian bid team are set to hold talks with global governing body World Rugby this week.
The United States have also signalled their intention to bid to host the 2031 World Cup and for McLennan that could be a better option.
“We’re absolutely committed to this,” he said. We’re absolutely keen to put on the most professional event and do a great job for everyone involved in rugby.
“The support for the game is there in Australia, but what the World Cup would do is put it on steroids.
“It would give us five years to promote the game and also put a lot of government support and investment back into the game. It would take it to another level.”
World Rugby is due to announce the host of the 2027 World Cup in May. France is staging the next edition in 2023, when South Africa will defend the title they won in Japan two years ago.
Australia, who have won the tournament twice, lost to England at the quarterfinal stage of the 2019 World Cup.
That came during a tough period for Rugby Australia, which became embroiled in a damaging and expensive legal dispute with star player Israel Folau, who was axed for posting social media messages deemed to be discriminatory.
The Wallabies were beaten 13-15 by Scotland in their European tour opener last week but that reverse came after a run of five straight wins, which McLennan said showed “we’re on the way back”.