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World Rugby considers hosting World Cup once every two years

By Sam Smith
Siya Kolisi, the South Africa captain, celebrates with team mates after their victory during the Rugby World Cup 2019 final. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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World Rugby is considering changing its scheduling of the World Cup to once every two years rather than every four years.


In an interview with The Telegraph, World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said the game’s global governing body is weighing up whether the possibility of staging rugby’s showpiece event on a biannual basis in what would be a drastic change for the tournament.

Since the inaugural men’s World Cup in 1987, the competition has been staged quadrennially, as has the women’s version since its second edition in 1994, which was held three years after its maiden event.

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Ian Foster reacts to the All Blacks win over Los Pumas

Gilpin told The Telegraph altering the four-year World Cup cycle has been discussed previously by rugby’s leading administrators.

“Biennial World Cups have been considered before and they’re definitely something that we will continue to consider,” Gilpin said.

“It’s an interesting concept, especially when you think about the global development of the women’s game, too.

“But the men’s calendar is very congested and complex, with a lot of different stakeholders, and we have to make sure we engage with them all before we consider a World Cup every two years.”

The revelation that World Rugby is considering such a move follows in the footsteps of its footballing counterparts FIFA, which announced its intentions last week to stage its World Cup once every two years rather than on a quadrennial basis.

Gilpin is currently in Paris to meet with World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and 2023 Rugby World Cup chief executive Claude Atcher to discuss rugby’s future.

Among the topics being covered by the trio include ticketing and scheduling aspects of the next World Cup, future expansion of the World Cup, future World Cup hosts, private equity in rugby and the use of artificial intelligence in rugby.

The next World Cup is scheduled to be held in France in two years’ time, while Australia and Russia have launched bids to host the 2027 World Cup.


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World Rugby considers hosting World Cup once every two years