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Australia launches bid for 2027 Rugby World Cup

Australia first announced its bid in 2017, and is well positioned as the front-runner ahead of rivals Russia.

Australia launched its bid to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup Thursday, calling it a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” which would generate billions of dollars and return the sport to its former glories.

The 1991 and 1999 champions hosted the World Cup in 2003, reaching the final, but results have dwindled and rugby has come under financial strain in Australia under pressure from other sports.

“This is an exciting day for all Australians as we formally put our hand up to host the third-largest sporting event in the world,” Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan said in a statement.

“Hosting Rugby World Cup 2027 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Australia, which would drive substantial economic outcomes for our country, while also providing a lasting legacy for rugby in this region.”

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Rugby Australia urged fans to get behind the bid, saying the World Cup would add Aus$2.5 billion (US$1.9 billion) to the economy, attracting 200,000 visitors and more than two million attendees.

McLennan called it an “unrivalled opportunity to grow the game” and said it would feature in a “green and gold decade” with Australia set to organise a number of major events.

Brisbane has been named as the preferred bidder for the 2032 Summer Olympics, while Australia will host cricket’s Twenty20 World Cup next year and football’s Women’s World Cup in 2023.

Australia will also hold the Women’s World Cup basketball next year, the British and Irish Lions rugby tour in 2025 and the Netball World Cup in 2027.

Australia first announced its bid in 2017, and is well positioned as the front-runner ahead of rivals Russia.

Argentina had also signalled its intention to bid for the hosting rights, but withdrew last year. World Rugby will name the successful bidder next May.

The World Cup shapes as an opportunity to move on from a difficult period for Rugby Australia, which became embroiled in a damaging and expensive legal dispute with star player Israel Folau when he was axed for posting a homophobic message.

The governing body controversially dropped Western Force from Super Rugby in 2017, only to reinstate them for the new-look competition that has emerged from last year’s coronavirus shutdown.

Rugby Australia has also weathered the acrimonious departures of former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, after a disappointing 2019 World Cup, and chief executive Raelene Castle.

Last month, Rugby Australia said losses almost tripled in Covid-hit 2020, and announced a bid to seek private equity investment.

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