England will host the 2025 women's tournament, Australia will stage the men's and women's events in 2027 and 2029, while USA have been awarded 2031 and 2033
Rugby World Cup hosts announced
The Rugby World Cup hosts for all tournaments up until 2033 have been announced.
We now know where the next three women’s World Cups will be staged after the tournament in New Zealand this year, as well as the venue for the two men’s World Cups that will follow France 2023.
England will host the 2025 World Cup, with the aim of selling out Twickenham for the final of the women’s tournament. Australia will host the 2027 and 2029 men’s and women’s events respectively – the first time they have been held back-to-back in the same country.
More history will be made in 2031 when the USA will host a 15s World Cup for the first time and they will also host the women’s tournament two years later.
All three venues had been given preferred host status before the meeting in Dublin this week of the World Rugby Council, which unanimously approved the bids.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont described the decision as “providing an unparalleled opportunity to accelerate the growth and impact of rugby globally”.
He added: “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. It will enable the sport to realise 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.”
Former England captain Sue Day, who is now the RFU’s chief operations officer and chief finance officer, said of England winning the rights to host RWC 2025: “It is going to be incredible. We will create a lasting legacy for women’s rugby in England, the UK and across the world, both in terms of attracting more people to play and attracting new fans.”
USA Rugby CEO Ross Young also has big plans for America’s first World Cups in the sport. He said: “USA Rugby will now venture into a new era and ensure the sport’s most treasured event is a springboard for creating lasting, sustainable enthusiasm and passion for rugby from coast to coast.”
Australia will be hosting a Rugby World Cup for the first time since 2003, when England triumphed in the final, and the hope is that it can re-energise the sport in the country.
“It’s a game-changer for rugby in this country, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revitalise and secure the future of the sport here and see the game we all love grow and thrive for years to come,” said Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan.
RW verdict on Rugby World Cup hosts
Firstly, it’s great that we know the World Cup venues for the next decade – and that this bidding process has not been marred by the sort of ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ politicking we have seen before.
Secondly, we know that England and Australia can deliver brilliant World Cups because they have done so before.
The RFU have set out big goals for the tournament, including making it the best-attended women’s World Cup and selling out Twickenham for the final. Given the crowds we’ve seen during the recent Women’s Six Nations those targets seem achievable and it’s an opportunity to build on the growth we’ve seen in recent years at all levels. The projected £156m boost to the UK economy is another plus point.
Rugby in Australia has struggled in recent years on and off the pitch, falling behind rugby league, Aussie Rules and cricket in terms of exposure and interest. With both the 2027 and 2029 tournaments heading Down Under, there is a real chance to revive the union code, both in terms of finances and participation.
Finally, work must start now to ensure the World Cups in the USA are a success. There has long been talk of how rugby needs to ‘break’ America and while there have been strides forward with Major League Rugby, sevens success and so on, there still hasn’t been the cut-through needed to pack out big stadiums for tournaments like these.
Of course, there will be big numbers of travelling fans, but the best World Cups also have plenty of buy-in from those in the host country too. Just look at how Japan embraced the tournament in 2019 – that’s what we need in the States in 2031 and 2033.
Given the vastness of the country, it may also be worth considering basing pools or teams in different areas of the country to one, limit the costs for travelling supporters and two, help engage the locals. For example, how about all Pool A matches are played on the East coast and Pool B is based on the West coast? Or basing Ireland (assuming they qualify!) in Boston given that a fifth of the city’s population have Irish heritage?
Plenty of food for thought over the coming years.
What do you think of the World Cup hosts announcements? Is going to the USA the right call? Will Twickenham be a sellout for the 2025 final? Let us know your thoughts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.