Rugby union needs a strong Australia and awarding the country back-to-back men’s and women’s World Cups in 2027 and 2029 would present a golden opportunity to revitalise the game Down Under, according to World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin.
- Australia has been named the preferred candidate to host the women’s World Cup in 2029, as well as the men’s edition of the tournament in 2027
- World Rugby boss Alan Gilpin admitted concern about the state of rugby in Australia
- The final decision about who will host World Cups over the next 12 years will be made in Dublin in May
Gilpin was speaking on Monday after the announcement Australia would be World Rugby’s preferred candidate to host the 2029 Women’s World Cup — a status it already enjoys for the 2027 men’s tournament.
With the fifth Olympic sevens tournaments scheduled to take place at the Brisbane Games in 2032, Australia will have a lengthy period as the centre of the rugby world, offering a chance to arrest the decline of the past few years.
“Australia is a huge player on the international stage,” Gilpin told reporters in Sydney.
“We want Australian rugby to be strong, we want rugby here to be back to being a really strong sport for kids.
Rugby Australia needed a $14 million loan from World Rugby last year after financial issues spiralled into a full-blown crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rugby Australia terminated more than 40 per cent of staff at the start of the pandemic in 2020 — the culmination of a horror period in which former chief executive Raelene Castle left the organisation, it paid an out-of-court settlement to Israel Folau, and it faced a declining supporter base and allegations of mismanagement from former players.
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