The Rugby World Cup looks set to return to Australia for 2027, leaving the United States in the lead to host the event in 2031.
Australia received “preferred candidate” status from World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, on Wednesday. Australia co-hosted the first Rugby World Cup in 1987 and also hosted the tournament in 2003, when the Wallabies lost the overtime final to England.
A final decision will be made in May of next year.
World Rugby also said it would begin what it described as an “exclusive targeted dialogue” with the United States on hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2031. It would be the first time the event would be held in North America.
Ross Young, managing director of USA Rugby, called it a “positive next step”.
“This focused dialogue opens a new door to collaboration and progress, ultimately fueling an optimistic future for USA Rugby and the world game,” said Young.
England have been chosen as the preferred candidate to host the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2025.
The announcements come after a review of the host nation selection process for the World Cups.
“The new Rugby World Cup model will see World Rugby take more direct responsibility for delivering flagship events,” the governing body said.
The next Men’s World Cup will take place in France in 2023.
Rugby Australia President Hamish McLennan said Wednesday’s decision was “a big step forward in our ambitions… and to restart the game in Australia”.
“Throughout this process, we sincerely believed that the time had come to bring the Rugby World Cup back to our shores,” said McLennan.
At its annual general meeting in April, Rugby Australia said it recorded a net deficit of AU $ 27.1 million ($ 19.4 million) for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and poor governance, with the governing body losing so much money that it even considered reverting to amateur status or bringing in private equity.
Rugby Australia has said that if the country hosts the 2027 World Cup, the event is expected to attract more than two million spectators over seven weeks of competition, including 200,000 international visitors, and generate AU $ 2.5 billion (1, $ 8 billion) in “direct and indirect spending”. to the economy.