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Australia announced as ‘preferred candidate’ to host Rugby World Cup 2027

Australia announced as ‘preferred candidate’ to host Rugby World Cup 2027
November 25, 2021

World Rugby has announced Australia as its 'preferred candidate' to stage Rugby World Cup 2027, with the World Rugby Council overnight accepted a recommendation from the Rugby World Cup Limited Board to work exclusively with Australia on a hosting model for the event.

Australia, which had long been a front runner to host the event, saw off an emerging bid from the USA to host the tournament in six years’ time. However, following the overnight meeting, the USA is now positioned to host the 2031 edition.

Welcoming the news, Rugby Australia Chairman, Hamish McLennan stated “this is a huge step forward in our ambitions to host Rugby World Cup 2027 and for rebooting the game in Australia.

“Throughout this process, we’ve held the genuine belief the time was right to bring the Rugby World Cup back to our shores.

“The team at Rugby Australia have worked hard on this for a number of years and today’s announcement is great reward for those efforts.”

Earlier this month McLennan had suggested that Australia’s hosting of the tournament would help bridge the widening ‘north-south’ financial divide in the game, going on to suggest that leading hosting the World Cup and a British & Irish Lions tour in 2025 might tempt rugby league players to switch codes.

Following the 'preferred candidate' announcement, McLennan went on to say “thanks to the support of the Federal Government and strong engagement of our State and Territory Governments, we’ve been able to get to a position where we can demonstrate to World Rugby that we’re a safe pair of hands and the obvious choice to host RWC 2027.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and we’re now closer than ever before to making that dream a reality. Game On for Australia 2027.”

The 2023 Rugby World Cup is being held in France.

Australia last hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2003.

World Rugby rule change to allow players to switch national teams
World Rugby has also approved a landmark change to its eligibility laws which will allow players to switch Test nations.

In a move that will significantly bolster developing countries in time for the 2023 World Cup, players who meet the criteria will be able to change nations from January.

Players are eligible to switch nations if they have been stood down for three years - in other words, not been selected for 36 months - and if they, or a parent or grandparent, were born in the country they wish to represent.

Pacific Islands nations are among those teams poised to most reap the rewards with a large number of players from the region currently playing for New Zealand, Australia and European nations.

The motion was backed by the World Rugby Council after sustained lobbying from the World Rugby Chairman, Bill Beaumont, who had pledged to make changes as part of his manifesto for re-election. 

Image: Jonny Wilkinson kicks the winning points as England beat Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final at Sydney's Stadium Australia.

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