Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has thrown his support behind an anticipated bid by Rugby Australia to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup.
Australia last hosted rugby’s premier event in 2003, which was lauded as a success for the Wallabies as they reached the tournament’s final before falling short to a Jonny Wilkinson-inspired England side in the final minute of extra-time.
The World Cup was also a hit off the field throughout Australia, as the country embraced the atmosphere and excitement that comes with the quadrennial event.
President of Rugby Australia, Tim Gavin, told News Limited earlier this week that it was time for Australia to host another World Cup after observing the support the Wallabies have received during their time in Japan over the past month.
“We put on a fantastic Rugby World Cup in 2003 and there is no reason we can’t do it again, bigger and better,” he said.
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“We have new stadiums coming on line and some fantastic rectangular grounds to watch rugby are already there.
“Only the English have more supporters in Japan than the 40,000-odd Aussies following the Wallabies at this World Cup and that just shows how popular the game is at the grassroots to back our own tournament.”
Although the formal bidding process is yet to get underway, it’s likely that World Rugby will name the hosts of the 2027 and 2031 World Cups in two years’ time.
Australia, which announced it would put forward a bid for the tournament in December 2017, will have competition in the form of Argentina and Russia, as both nations’ rugby unions have already stated their intentions to put forward bids for the 2027 Cup.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 9, 2019
Following on from their successful hosting of the 2018 Sevens World Cup, the United States have also been encouraged by World Rugby boss Brett Gosper to put forward a bid for the tournament, which would fall a year after the nation co-hosts the FIFA World Cup with Mexico and Canada, and a year before Los Angeles holds the Olympic Games.
After unsuccessful bids to host the 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2023 World Cups, South Africa could also come into consideration to host the tournament, 32 years after the Rainbow Nation held their only World Cup in 1995.
The success that has ensued with the current World Cup being held in Japan, traditionally a minnow rugby nation, could sway World Rugby to take the tournament to another tier two country, especially with the 2023 edition to be held in France, a traditional rugby powerhouse.
That shouldn’t diminish the credibility of Australia as World Cup hosts, however, with an overhaul of the nation’s stadia – which is set to be completed by 2027 – making the world’s sixth-ranked country an attractive option.
Speaking ahead of his side’s final pool match against Georgia in Shizuoka on Friday, Cheika believed that Australia would do an admirable job of holding the tournament for the third time in their history after co-hosting the 1987 World Cup with New Zealand and playing the role of sole hosts 16 years ago.
“I think we’d kill it and I say that in a positive way,” Cheika replied when asked about the prospect, according to ESPN.
“If there’s one [thing] we like to do at home and that’s put on a good show; we’ve got so many sports fans there.
“It was 2003 wasn’t it, the one in Australia? A great place for people, I feel like I’m working for the tourism board here, but it’s a place you want to come for a holiday, too.
“The players won’t be coming for a holiday but the spectators [would love it], and you’ve seen how many there are in all the stadiums.
“If I lived overseas and I was a foreigner, it would be the one place I’d want to go to watch a World Cup, that’s for sure…it’d be big for the whole game if the World Cup was played in Australia, without a doubt.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 9, 2019
Playing in his first World Cup, Wallabies midfielder Samu Kerevi was in awe of the way in which Japan has taken to the tournament.
“I think I said it in an interview a couple of days ago, just the buzz and the feeling around the people itself as a nation; there’s whispers that they’ve been learning other national anthems just to sing and be part of all different teams,” Kerevi said.
“Just to hear that, for a nation to buy into a Rugby World Cup is amazing and obviously you get that at different World Cups, but there’s just something different about the Japanese.
“They’re so welcoming, the detail around how we get to stadiums, little things from the change-rooms begin changed to each team; we walk into our change room and Australia [is] written there.
“And there’s a couple of games every weekend and they’ll be different; it’s not like New Zealand will have our name up there.
“So there’s little details, changing the whole stadium just to make us feel at home, I think it’s a little minor detail but it’s awesome. And they’ve really received every team really well, so I’m really enjoying it at the moment.”
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