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RFU set to pursue solo bid for 2031 Rugby World Cup

England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) is set to proceed with a solo bid to host the 2031 Rugby World Cup.

World Rugby is set to vote on host nations for the 2027 and 2031 editions of its showpiece event in May. Candidates have until January to formally submit bids for the tournaments and with Australia viewed as the favourite to land the 2027 edition, the RFU is targeting the 2031 event.

It had previously been reported by The Guardian that the RFU had discussed a joint bid with other home nations but England’s governing body is now setting its sights on a solo proposal. The Guardian has now reported that discussions of a joint bid fell through after the home nations could not agree on where the final would be held.

England would face competition from the US, which has expressed an interest in hosting either the 2027 and 2031 tournament. Tom Ilube, the newly-appointed chair of the RFU, has revealed that talks have been held with the government over a potential bid.

“We would like to bid for that – the 2031 World Cup,” he told The Guardian. “That would be really exciting to have it here and you could imagine what it would be like and I think that really gives us a focus as well. So we will see what happens, it will be interesting. It is something that we are really interested in discussing and engaging with the process.”

England last hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2015. The 2019 event took place in Japan, while France is scheduled to stage the 2023 tournament.

Ilube added that hosting the World Cup would help the RFU elevate England to the status required to win the tournament. France reportedly paid a fee of £150m (€175m/$207m) to land hosting rights for the 2023 tournament.

Image: Maxwell Hamilton/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size