Rugby Australia has wasted no time in preparing for the 2027 Rugby World Cup, which is set to take place in Australia. This highly anticipated tournament has already begun to take shape, with plans for a larger scale event than ever before. Instead of the usual 20 teams, the 2027 Rugby World Cup will feature 24 teams.
In order to address logistical challenges, Rugby Australia has adopted a city “hub” model for the tournament. This new approach aims to create a centralized location that can cater to the needs of all teams and spectators, ensuring a smooth and successful event. Rugby Australia hopes to replicate the success of the 2003 tournament, which was widely regarded as one of the best-run World Cups in history.
While preparations for the 2027 tournament are well underway, there is a lingering sense of hesitation within the rugby community to embrace new ideas. The sport often prioritizes financial gain over innovation, which has led to some skepticism regarding the potential for growth and outreach. This sentiment was reinforced by the recent announcement of the Nations Cup format, which seemed to prioritize protecting the leading 12 nations rather than spreading the sport to new territories.
In a surprising move, the United States has been awarded the hosting rights for the 2031 men’s tournament, followed by the women’s tournament in 2033. Rugby’s popularity in the US is still relatively low compared to other countries, and the success of hosting the World Cup will depend on the development of the sport in the country and the ability to attract corporate sponsors. This opportunity could serve as a significant catalyst for rugby growth in the US.
Looking ahead to the 2035 men’s Rugby World Cup, there is growing interest from Spain, Italy, and Portugal for a joint bid to host the tournament. This collaboration would offer unique match venues in European cities and bring increased attention and excitement to the sport in Europe.
Additionally, there is talk of the British & Irish Lions, a prestigious rugby team comprising players from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, touring the Americas. Potential matchups against teams in Canada, the US, and South America are being considered. This idea of branching out and exploring new territories is seen as a necessary step for the growth of rugby globally.
As the sport continues to evolve and expand its reach, the upcoming Rugby World Cups and potential tours serve as exciting prospects for both fans and the sport itself. With each new event, rugby has the opportunity to captivate audiences and foster growth in new regions, ensuring a vibrant and promising future for the game.
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