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World Rugby statement: Rod Eddington to lead 2027, 2029 World Cups

By RugbyPass
The Webb Ellis trophy (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Preparations for the hosting of the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups in 2027 and 2029 in Australia have accelerated with the announcement of Rod Eddington as independent chair of the board of directors. The development comes as World Rugby and Rugby Australia wrap up productive meetings in Sydney to progress the joint venture organising company that, as a collaboration between the two parties and under the chairmanship of Eddington, will be responsible for the delivery of Australia’s first Rugby World Cups since 2003.

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A World Rugby statement read: “Highly regarded in both the corporate and public sectors on a national and international basis, Eddington has a strong track record of achieving impactful results. He is currently chair of JP Morgan’s Asia-Pacific Advisory Council and has held positions as director of Cathay Pacific, chair of Ansett Australia, deputy chair of News Limited and chief executive of British Airways.

“Eddington has also played a leading role for a number of national and international economic, trade, transport and development organisations and is currently chair of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, a member of the APEC Business Advisory Council, and president of the Australia Japan Business Corporation Committee.

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“The Australian will preside over a board of directors comprising World Rugby, Rugby Australia, and a further skills-based managing director. Details of the appointments will be announced in due course.

“The joint venture and collaboration between World Rugby and Rugby Australia, the Australia 2027 and 2029 organising company will be majority owned by World Rugby’s events arm, which is responsible for the delivery of all men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups through to at least 2033 and designed to ignite rugby interest, fan, participation growth and value.”

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Eddington said: “World Rugby and Rugby Australia have provided Australia with a wonderful once-in-a-generation opportunity to host not one, but two Rugby World Cups in 2027 and 2029 and I’m honoured and excited to be chairing the board of directors to guide their delivery. Australia has built a reputation for hosting outstanding sporting and cultural events, and I know that the whole nation will rally with enthusiasm behind these Rugby World Cups.

“By working together as a board, as the rugby family and as the nation, I believe that we will deliver what will be remembered as two of the great sporting events, Rugby World Cups that Australia will be proud of. Game on!”

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World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Australia is the home of major sports events over the next decade, and we are excited that the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups in 2027 and 2029 will be at the heart of this incredible celebration of sport and Australia.

“Working in partnership with Rugby Australia, we have set the bar high with regards to the impact that our Rugby World Cups will deliver on a national and global scale. Central to achieving our ambition is the appointment of Rod Eddington as independent chair of the board of directors and we are excited to have someone of his renowned stature, knowledge and passion presiding over the preparation of Rugby World Cups that will supercharge the growth of the sport on a national and international level.”

World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin said: “Our vision, shared by Rugby Australia, is not simply to host exceptional events that Australia can be proud of, but to be flagbearers for rugby’s ongoing transformation in Australia and the world more broadly.

“To do this, rugby must be even more exciting, more relevant and more accessible to more people. To that end, we have held excellent and productive meetings with Rugby Australia regarding the purpose of the events and the impact they must drive pre and post-event. With that in mind, Rod is the perfect person to lead the organisation of what will be very special Rugby World Cups.”

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Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan added: “As the chair of our Rugby World Cup bid advisory board, Rod Eddington played a crucial role in the awarding of the 2027 and 2029 events to Australia. Rugby World Cup is the third largest sporting event in the world – Rod understands exactly what we want to accomplish for the game in hosting these events here in Australia.

“He is highly regarded and respected at home and abroad and was central to our work with World Rugby, Federal and State Governments in securing the two World Cups. We are delighted to have secured his services and to lead the events as Independent chair of the board of directors.”

Australia’s hosting of the men’s (2027) and women’s (2029) editions firmly cements the nation as being at the heart of the major event hosting universe with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Commonwealth Games and FIFA Women’s World Cup also being hosted before 2032.

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said: “We have concluded some productive meetings around our joint venture with World Rugby this week as we continue to work together with World Rugby to establish the structure and people that will shape and deliver the 2027 and 2029 Rugby World Cups here in Australia.

“We are approaching a golden decade for Australian rugby, with the Lions Tour in 2025, a home Commonwealth Games in 2026, two home Rugby World Cups and a home Olympic Games in 2032 – this is a massive opportunity for rugby in Australia, and Rod could not be more well-suited to having a leading role in this moment with World Rugby.”

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