Rugby’s ‘most significant moment’ in 31 years

By Sam Worthington with AP

The Sydney Harbor Bridge was lit up in resplendent green and gold on Thursday night in anticipation of Australia being awarded hosting rights for the 2027 (men’s) and 2029 (women’s) Rugby World Cups.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and Wallaroos skipper Shannon Parry were at the Sydney Opera House as the bridge lit up and the clock counts down to World Rugby’s final vote in Dublin later tonight.

The decision to award Australia hosting rights for both tournaments is expected to be a fait accompli after a successful campaign to win over the game’s powerbrokers.

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Australia set for twin Rugby World Cups

It will be the third time Australia has hosted the men’s World Cup after co-hosting the first tournament in 1987 with New Zealand then winning sole rights in 2003.

“What an opportunity for young players if that was to come through,” Hooper said.

“What a time to be a part of rugby and as someone who’s probably going to be on the other side of it then, but for some of younger guys to be part of that… what a great era or chapter of Australian rugby.”

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Wallabies legend Tim Horan tweeted that the expected announcement would be “the most significant moment in Australian rugby’s history” since winning the 1991 World Cup.

It will be a busy night for World Rugby who will announce the host nations for the men’s and women’s World Cups for the period 2025-2033, a total of five tournaments.

The United States are set to be awarded the men’s tournament in 2031 — marking the first time it will be staged in North or South America — and the women’s tournament in 2033.

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England will likely be announced as the host nation for the women’s World Cup in 2025.

Using a new partnership hosting model, World Rugby wants to give the same country back-to-back World Cups, believing it will “underpin the growth of the sport”.

The American market is regarded by World Rugby as an area of ​​untapped potential, in both a commercial and sporting sense.

The 2015 men’s World Cup in Japan was the first to be held in Asia, and taking the sport’s showpiece to the United States would be another step toward establishing a new market for rugby.

In some parts of the world, the men’s tournament — held every four years — ranks No.3 in global sports events behind the Olympics and the football World Cup.

President Joe Biden sent a letter to World Rugby last month, declaring his support for the American bids and for the “development of rugby in the United States.”

The president gave “governmental guarantees” for the staging of the tournaments.

“On behalf of the people of the United States, I am pleased to offer my wholehearted support of this bid,” he wrote.

The American bid will cost around $725 million, with profits and losses shared between World Rugby and USA Rugby.

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