Freshly appointed Rugby World Cup hosts the right choices: Opinion

2031/33 Rugby World Cup hosts are the right choices: Opinion
Spread the love

World Rugby gets plenty of stick yet deserves praise for its decisions over the last 12 months with the freshly appointed Rugby World Cup hosts being one of them.

Other policies and decisions include; the change in eligibility laws will that allow Pacific Island teams to compete and encourage their qualified national representatives to continue to fly their flag, whilst their new ‘Nations Championship‘ concept could supply the cash rugby desperately needs.

And now, the hosts for the next five Rugby World Cups have been confirmed. And these hosts are solid choices.

Freshly appointed Rugby World Cup hosts are the right choices

As well as the multiple hosting rights awarded to Australia and the United States of America, England is as proud to be a companion nation that will hold the majority of pinnacle matches across the next women’s rugby union World Championship event in 2025.

England 2025 (women’s)

In the recent women’s Tiktok Six Nations, 14,000 fans rallied at Kingsholm to watch England vs Wales match. What a positive sight it was for our sport. That factor;and their commitment to sustainability in the sport makes England the perfect host for the next Rugby World Cup to capitalise on the growing popularity of this segment of the sport.

By 2025, (hopefully) a few more sides will be fully or semi-professional too, allowing the tournament to reach a new benchmark in quality and competitiveness. On social media, England Rugby even set the goal to pack out Twickenham Stadium for the final. After an encouraging 6 Nations, this truly feels achievable.

Fans will feel that the tournament which follows up on the French event that occurs in less than two years, will be as popular as 2017, that was hosted by Ireland.

Australia 2027 (men’s) and 2029 (women’s)

It’s no secret that Australian rugby has been struggling for a while. Participation numbers have plummeted since the Wallabies last hosted the World Cup in 2003.

Fans from all nations with have fond memories of Australian rugby, especially those dazzling teams of the 90s including David Campese and Tim Horan. A strong Wallabies side is in the interests of the entire rugby ecosystem.

Embed from Getty Images

Australian rugby needs a catalyst to return in the public’s hearts. Arguably, in our sport, nothing could create this more than a Rugby World Cup. Hopefully, the confirmation of a competitive event will have the desired result of ‘reigniting’ a proud rugby nation.

On the other hand, women’s rugby in the country has progressed impressively. As of 2019, females made up 27% of the total playing population.

It’s unclear how much the pandemic would have disrupted this growth but, hosting a women’s Rugby World Cup seems a ‘just reward’ for this achievement.

USA to host 2031 (men’s)/2033 (women’s) RWC events

Undoubtedly, this is the headline-maker. For rugby to grow, it needs to hit key markets, and the US is undoubtedly one of them. According to World Rugby, rugby’s participation figures in Asia increased by millions following the 2019 World Cup in Japan. The hope is that a similar impact could be made in America.There are even murmurs in rugby’s internet community that a World Cup in America could be what’s needed for a good rugby video game. That is wishful thinking, but who knows the opportunities these appointments could create.Some fans have questioned the atmosphere at the tournament, considering rugby is only a minor sport in America’s competitive market. But those critics must remember 2016 when 60,000 fans packed into Chicago’s Soldier Field for Ireland’s triumph over the All Blacks. The boisterous crowd created one of the best atmospheres of any Test Match that year.

A positive choice for Rugby World Cup hosts

England, Australia, both familiar nations to produce quality tournaments over the history of the Rugby World Cup in both men’s and women’s tournaments. Add in the prospect of the ‘new force’ in the expansion of the game, USA hosting two pinnable events in the next 15 years is unheralded. Alan Gilpin spoke highly of the news.

“The confirmation of host locations is supported by a new partnership approach to event delivery, that will power long-term, sustainable development, including in the USA and across the women’s game, enabling the sport to realize its global potential on and off the field, driving significant social and economic benefits for host nations.

“Today is a landmark moment for the sport, and an exciting development for fans. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making this dream a reality as we look to deliver a truly global sport for all,” said Gilpin in World Rugby media releases.

Welcome Alan Gilpin, World Rugby CEO
Alan Gilpin, Head of Rugby World Cup, speaks to the media at a briefing in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The selection of Rugby World Cup hosts has not come without criticism. South African fans for example, will understandably ‘feel bitter’ that the earliest they will host a World Cup is 2035. Yet the hosts that have been chosen are truly logical decisions. In both Australia and USA, the men’s tournaments will be followed quickly by the women’s events just two years later which can certainly capitalize on the fanbases the proceeding tournaments and marketing can build upon.

One point is how England 2025 can exploit the growing market for women’s rugby, and drastically improve the stature of the tournament. It is to be held in the later part of this year; postponed from the original date of 2021. And after a popular New Zealand hostee can provide the perfect stage for more growth in the game. Meanwhile, Australia 2027/2029 can rebuild rugby’s popularity in the Southern hemisphere nation.

As for the USA tournaments, well, just think of the possibilities. England vs Wales near the stunning beaches of San Diego? Could the USA Eagles opening their World Cup with a big game in New York City a possibilty? Or how about catching the All Blacks vs South Africa, before a night out in Vegas? These possibilities are truly awesome. And in the opinion of many, is a positive choice to make.

 

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images