USA to stage Rugby World Cup for first time

Australia and the USA have been awarded hosting rights to the 2027 and 2031 editions of the men’s Rugby World Cup, respectively, with the two countries also set to host future women’s tournaments.

World Rugby has today (Thursday) confirmed the host countries for the five editions of its World Cup from 2025 onwards. England will host the women’s tournament in 2025, before the event heads to Australia in 2029 and the US in 2033.

The 2027 World Cup will mark the first time Australia has staged the men’s tournament since 2003. Australia was widely expected to be awarded the event after World Rugby selected the country as its preferred candidate to host the tournament back in November.

World Rugby also confirmed at the time that the US would enter into exclusive targeted dialogue for the 2031 men’s tournament and the country has now been confirmed as the host of the event. The US has never hosted a Rugby World Cup before.

The World Rugby Council has today approved a new partnership model for Rugby World Cup delivery in a move designed to optimise opportunities to grow the sport. World Rugby will form partnerships with national unions and governments to establish a local delivery structure in each nation.

The new approach is in line with the ‘game-changer’ objectives of World Rugby’s strategic plan to provide hosting certainty for the tournament. The approach also includes a roadmap to accelerate rugby union’s advancement in the US and increased investment in the women’s game.

World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said: “As a sport and an international federation, it is imperative that we continually seek new ways to ensure that the sport converts clear potential into impactful outcomes, and today’s decision reflects that commitment.

“A partnership approach will enable us to develop robust strategic objectives that are great for the host nation and great for rugby and build efficiencies of delivery and resourcing, helping to reduce hosting costs from the outset, while maximising fan engagement, revenue and delivery opportunities. All of which will lead to even greater direct investment back into the game at all levels.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with the host partners to deliver the stage for the world’s best players to perform and a festival to excite and engage fans from around the world, growing the rugby movement together in a responsible and sustainable way.”

Ross Young, chief executive of USA Rugby, added: “I speak for the rugby community and fans across the United States when I express our sincere gratitude to World Rugby for their trust and endorsement of our vision to grow this incredible sport exponentially across our country.

“USA Rugby will now venture into a new era and ensure the sport’s most treasured event is a springboard for creating lasting, sustainable enthusiasm and passion for rugby from coast to coast. We look forward to partnering with World Rugby in the years ahead to ensure that our preparations for these tournaments and the events themselves are a paradigm-shifting catalyst for the growth of our sport, not only here in the United States but around the world.”

World Rugby has traditionally held a bidding process to determine hosting rights for the World Cup but it is hoped the new approach will help unlock new revenue streams and maximise financial and social outcomes for hosts.

The new approach adopted by World Rugby is similar to that of the International Olympic Committee, which in February 2021 named the Australian city of Brisbane as its preferred candidate to host the 2032 Olympics. Brisbane was confirmed as the host city in July last year.

Japan staged the most recent men’s World Cup in 2019, with France set to play host in 2023. The most recent women’s tournament took place in Ireland in 2017, and New Zealand will host the delayed 2021 event later this year.

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