The men’s Rugby World Cup is set for a major transformation in 2027 as Australia prepares to host an expanded tournament featuring 24 teams. This historic reimagination of the competition format, window, and timing was recently approved by the World Rugby Council, marking a significant step towards increasing the competitiveness and reach of international rugby.
Under the new format, the tournament will be divided into six pools of four teams each, with a round of 16 added before the quarter-finals. This tweak will result in a shorter tournament window of six weeks, down from the previous duration of seven weeks. World Rugby believes that this adjustment will not only provide greater opportunities for more nations to shine on the world stage but also ensure the welfare and entertainment of players and fans.
The qualification process for the 2027 Rugby World Cup will be determined through a comprehensive review of the 2023 edition and consultations with unions and regions. The decision to expand the tournament and make these changes to the hosting model reflects World Rugby’s commitment to fostering global competitiveness. By allowing the Pool Draw to be conducted at a later stage, the organization aims to ensure a fair and balanced competition.
World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont, has emphasized the importance of thinking big and being inclusive in order to grow the sport and attract new fans. With Australia’s deep-rooted love of sport and its experience in hosting major events, it is viewed as the perfect location for the expanded Rugby World Cup. The decision to bring the tournament to Australia not only provides certainty for all stakeholders but also solidifies the Rugby World Cup’s position as the pinnacle of the international rugby calendar.
As preparations for the Rugby World Cup 2027 continue, fans and players alike can eagerly anticipate a thrilling competition that will serve as a platform for showcasing the global talent in rugby. With more teams participating and a compressed tournament schedule, Australia is poised to deliver an unforgettable sporting spectacle that will captivate audiences around the world.