Australia will host the men’s 2027 and women’s 2029 Rugby World Cups in a game changer for the cash-strapped code Down Under.
The World Rugby Council formally granted Australia staging rights for the two global showpieces following a final vote in Dublin on Thursday.
Australia had been all but certain to earn both tournaments after previously gaining preferred host status in the streamlined bid process.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit up in green and gold at 6pm in anticipation before Rugby Australia (RA) received the confirmation it was anxiously awaiting almost three hours later.
Wallabies legend Tim Horan, a two-time World Cup winner, tweeted the announcement marked ‘the most significant moment in Australian rugby history since winning the RWC in 1991 that put rugby on the map in Oz’.
Rugby’s biggest tournament will return to Australia with the nation announced as a host
RA boss Andy Marinos estimated the two World Cups could bring between $50 and 60 million to the cash-strapped governing body and help return the sport to its glory days in Australia.
That forecast came after the organisation considered reverting to amateur status when it recorded a net deficit of $27.1 million for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘It sets us up for what I think is going to be a golden age of rugby in this country,’ RA president David Codey said.
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and Wallaroos skipper Shannon Parry said hosting the two events would inspire a new generation of young players.
‘It’s pretty special,’ Hooper said.
‘The runway from this all comes together in the next 10 years of rugby. Not only with these World Cups but the (Brisbane 2032) Olympics with rugby’s involvement in the Olympics and what that looks like.
‘It’s a pretty good time to be a young rugby player or looking to play rugby.’
Australian Women’s Rugby president Josephine Sukkar said ‘the impact of what this means, not just for Australia but for the region’ couldn’t be overstated.
The Rugby Council has announced its latest batch of hosts for the prestigious tournament
Australia last hosted the men’s tournament in 2003, where they lost to England in the final
‘The legacy this will create for Australia, the increase in participants. We expect more than 30,000 more men and women participating in the game,’ Sukkar said.
Parry expected hosting a women’s World Cup in Australia for the first time would lure young girls to the game in the same way the women’s Sevens team did after striking gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
‘Off the back of 2016, it really created a pathway and a bit of a legacy for these young girls to aspire to,’ Parry said.
‘To think, we’ve got a Commonwealth Games as well (in Victoria in 2026). It’s a massive pathway and trajectory to get girls into rugby.
‘It’s really exciting. If you’re 15, 16, come five, six, seven years time, you’re probably going to be in that Wallaroos team.’
Michael Hooper (R) and Shannon Parry (L) delighted in the announcement which will inject an expected $60million into the game
The 2027 men’s edition will come 24 years after the Wallabies reached the final the last time Australia hosted the tournament and is expected to feature between eight and 10 match venues.
Many other locations will serve as training bases, while art, wine and food trails will be among the lures set to attract tourists seeking more from their experience than rugby.
All told, the 2027 event is projected to attract more than two million people across seven weeks of competition, including 200,000 international visitors, and generate a $2.5 billion boost for the economy.
Organisers said it would create 13,300 jobs and stimulate $500 million in new trade and investment.
The back-to-back World Cups in Australia will follow the 2023 RWC in France and the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia in 2025.