World Cup expansion could boost Australia's hosting chances

Rugby World Cup
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

World Rugby is keeping an open mind when it comes to World Cup expansion and a bigger international tournament could spell good things for Australia's World Cup chances.

Australia has already flagged its intention to bid for the 2027 Rugby World Cup and the country's infrastructure would only help its chances should the tournament grow.

With France awarded the 2023 World Cup, the next tournament is tipped to the Southern Hemisphere and Argentina would appear to be Australia's major competition.

With more countries potentially involved, the demand for up-to-date infrastructure will increase, something that could potentially count against emerging countries yet to host major tournaments

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said expansion was definitely an option down the track for the sport's showpiece tournament.

"I think as a sport and certainly as a global body our mindset, and the question was asked to us, are you guys more trying to restrict or reduce your number of countries and go forward?," he said.

"Our mindset is one of expansion, we’re an expanding sport, we’re looking for footprint and economics outside of the markets we’re reliant on.

"The sport’s actually financially very reliant on France and the United Kingdom so we have to find new markets to continue growing. When we grow, we put that money back into participation to help existing unions, help new and emerging unions so our mindset is to expand and the World Cup is a great way for your geographic footprint to grow.

"The question is when do you do that? It’s unlikely for France in 2023, it’s more likely to come later in 2027 than 2023."

Australia is also bidding to host the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup in the Newcastle and Hunter region, a opportunity to prove its ability to host matches outside of big cities.

Rugby Australia officials have been showing World Rugby officials around that region as the decision time gets closer for the Women's Rugby World Cup and CEO Raelene Castle said they would be doing eveything they could to prove their credentials for both tournaments.

"For us, with the women’s World Cup bid, it’s is great for us to have all the senior executives and key people here to show that we’ve got the Newcastle option and ensure we make every opportunity to talk up Australia while they’re here," she said.

"When we move to the 2027 men’s World Cup, it would be hard to argue that Australia wouldn’t have the best rectangular stadium in the world and we know that we will put an incredible competitive bid together.

"With a nation that puts on good global events and has such a strong rugby economy we know that we’d really put our best foot forward."