Australia has launched bids to host the men’s Rugby World Cup in 2027 and the women’s event in 2021.
The day after Rugby Australia introduced Raelene Castle as its first female CE, it announced the World Cup bids and a national women’s 15-a-side tournament starting next March that will complement the sevens competition launched in 2017 to capitalise on the success of the Australian women’s team at the Rio Games where it won gold.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be held in Japan while the 2023 event was controversially awarded to France recently after voters ignored a World Rugby evaluation report that said SA had the strongest bid.
Australia were the sole hosts of the tournament in 2003 and co-hosts with New Zealand in the inaugural World Cup in 1987. The nation has never hosted the women’s World Cup.
The eighth version was held in Ireland earlier in 2017, where Australia finished sixth.
"The Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle for our Wallabies and Wallaroos teams and we want to bring those tournaments home for any player, boy or girl, man or woman, who ever dreamed of lifting the cup here on our home soil," Rugby Australia chairman Cameron Clyne said.
Rugby Australia had said in November it was interested in hosting future World Cup tournaments, with the decision by the New South Wales government to spend $1.51bn demolishing and renovating three Sydney venues.
"With the New South Wales government’s commitment to build a network of three world-class rectangular venues in Sydney, adding to the mix of quality stadiums available across the country, our prospects of bringing the World Cups to Australia have never been better," Clyne said.
That expenditure, however, has caused an uproar in Australia’s largest city, with a petition launched by former Wallabies lock Peter Fitzsimons last week attracting almost 150,000 signatures in opposition.
SA, which has bid for the last four World Cups, has not hosted the event since 1995 and could loom as a major challenger for Australia in 2027, while New Zealand may throw its hat into the ring for the 2021 women’s tournament.