USA on World Rugby radar
World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper has called for USA Rugby to make a “magnificent bid” to host a future Rugby World Cup following the success of the World Cup Sevens held in San Francisco.
Last weekend’s World Cup Sevens at AT&T Park was World Rugby’s latest stride towards engaging with fans in the United States. More than 100,000 people attended the three-day event.
“Hitting 100,000 is terrific, it’s a hugely supported tournament in San Francisco itself and people have come here and really embraced the event,” Gosper said. “The magnificent stadium here has played its role too and it’s been great that we’ve virtually filled it over the three days, so we’re thrilled about it.”
With hosting rights secured by Japan for 2019 and France for 2023, a decision for the host of the 2027 iteration is expected by 2021, and Gosper believes the United States shapes as an ideal destination.
Gosper told The Independent: “I think this is obviously going to be a destination for the World Cup one day. It’s up to USA Rugby to organise themselves and put forward a magnificent bid. There’s a big queue of countries looking to host it, both north and south hemisphere, so we would love to see them put in a very strong bid and we know they’re very capable of it. I can’t really put a date on that but we’d be excited by an American bid.”
Despite hitting roadblocks of late with wholesale changes to board personnel, the United States national team managed to record their first victory over a tier one nation when they beat Scotland 30-29 in Houston.
The United States’ recent international success has been coupled with the inaugural season of Major League Rugby, the country’s new domestic professional competition, which proved to strengthen the national side.
“I think MLR is an exciting concept because it allows a greater number of top American players to develop and stay in the country, and that can only improve the performance of the national team, which of course improves the availability of money and funding,” Gosper told The Independent. “We think that’s a good base that will help the sustainability for strong international players in the US national team.”
With the competition set to expand by 2020 and continue to grow in the foreseeable future, a World Cup hosting bid from the United States is only justified further.