Australia set to secure hosting rights after federal government pledge

With the Morrison government blocking funding and in-kind support for the bid, a federal election likely in mid-May will be a busy weekend for politically-minded rugby fans. Kearns said Rugby Australia’s bid team had kept the Labor opposition informed of its plans and was confident of bipartisan support.

In the meantime, World Rugby already has a small operational office in Sydney as a front end, while chief executive Alan Gilpin and other senior staff are in Australia to meet with state governments and finalize the accommodation model that will be used in 2027.

Nothing is guaranteed – we’ve seen a pandemic nearly sabotage the Olympics and nearly break the financial models of all professional sports – and the next period looks uncertain in geopolitical terms. But all is well, the top 20 rugby nations in the world and their supporters will land in Australia in September 2027.

How important was the Women’s World Cup in securing a government funding commitment?
There is no doubt that raising your hand to host the 2029 Women’s World Cup helps everyone. The Federal Government saw it as another major event for its so-called ‘golden decade’ of sport, while World Rugby knew Australia were a safe pair of hands, having shown their intent with a bid for the show 2021, which they lost to New Zealand. For women’s rugby, this is crucial after a period of severe under-resources.

What will this mean for Australian rugby?
It’s not a silver bullet, but hosting the world’s third-largest sporting event (behind the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup) will shine a light on the code in Australia and could be a launching pad for more. future successes, which is why former general manager Bill Pulver focused on the move in 2017.

RA chairman Hamish McLennan said: “The Rugby World Cup in Australia will provide the necessary runway to address the game’s structural issues and provide a platform to showcase this beautiful global game. A World Cup on our shores will be for all Australians and will provide a multi-billion dollar boost to the economy.

RA claims the 2027 World Cup would inject $2.5 billion into the Australian economy. Credit:Getty

How big will the AR war chest be after 2027?
To be determined. The Australian Rugby Union cashed in a $45 million war chest after the 2003 Rugby World Cup; a sum that is often mentioned these days for being spent too quickly.

The 2027 Rugby World Cup will operate on a different financial model, however.

Where the host union paid a fee to World Rugby and retained all ticket revenue (with World Rugby retaining everything else, such as broadcast money, sponsorship and corporate hospitality), the new model is essentially a joint venture.

As with the FIFA World Cup, the host union commits operational funding and then organizes the event with World Rugby. A revenue-sharing deal would still give Rugby Australia a war chest, but the percentage split has yet to be finalised.

Optus Stadium, MCG and Accor Stadium (Homebush) will compete to host the 2027 World Cup Final.

Optus Stadium, MCG and Accor Stadium (Homebush) will compete to host the 2027 World Cup Final.

Where will the World Cup final take place?
Venues won’t be finalized until the winning bid is officially announced, but there are three grounds that meet World Rugby’s 60,000-capacity criteria to host a Rugby World Cup final: Stadium Australia in Homebush, the MCG and the Optus Stadium in Perth.

All three have selling points. Perth is a friendlier time zone for Europe and the MCG has a capacity of 20,000 more seats than Stadium Australia. The 80,000-seat Homebush site in Sydney – which hosted the 2003 World Cup final – is, however, at the heart of rugby and is the trio’s only rectangular ground.

World Rugby and Rugby Australia will jointly decide on the venue for the final and the play-offs.

Through their state and territory governments, up to 10 venues across Australia have made official bids to host World Cup matches. Announcement of venues would likely not be made until early 2023 and Rugby World Cup tickets will typically go on sale two years before the tournament.

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Can we win the 2027 World Cup?
It’s a tricky business to make predictions in rugby, especially when it comes to the fortunes of the Wallabies and the World Cup. Sometimes a sure thing can fall by the wayside (think 2007, when Australia were knocked out in the quarter-finals by England) and other times a dream race can pop up out of nowhere (hello 2015 , when the Wallabies lost in the final to New Zealand).

And then there’s that pesky international player market to consider, with its tens of millions of euros, yen and pounds attracting top Australian talent.

But, if the 2025 Lions tour and 2027 World Cup serve to keep the Wallabies in Australia – starting with Taniela Tupou and working their way down the roster – there are positive signs that Australia could have a decent crack at the World Cup 2027.

Consider this: of the team of 40 Wallabies named last week, 20 of them will still be 30 or younger in 2027. Now regular Wallabies like Angus Bell (21), Tate McDermott (22), Izaia Perese ( 24), Harry Wilson (22), Darcy Swain (24), Jordan Petaia (22), Len Ikitau (23), Rob Valetini (23) and Hunter Paisami (24) have played 15-20 Tests and will all knock on the door of 100 test caps come the 2027 World Cup.

Tupou and Izack Rodda will be 30 years old and will be armed with more than a century of caps.

If all that experience and cohesion is harnessed in the right way, anything is possible.

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