Hosting two Rugby World Cups is an opportunity Australia can’t afford to grope | rugby federation

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AAustralian rugby has been presented with a unique opportunity to revitalize the game in this country with the prospect of staging back-to-back men’s and women’s World Cups just two years apart. In a huge boost for the game, Australia was named the preferred candidate to host the Women’s World Cup in 2029, as well as the men’s tournament in 2027, on Monday.

Both World Cups have put Australia in an ideal position to capitalize on rugby’s huge global popularity, with the potential to provide a much-needed financial boost. But it’s an opportunity Australian rugby can’t afford to miss, as poor performances in the home tournaments would be disastrous for the game.

The Wallabies are currently ranked sixth in the world, just one place above their lowest position on record, and are well behind the All Blacks, France, South Africa and even England as favorites to win the 2023 World Cup in France.

Australian rugby fans are hoping the Wallabies can turn things around next year, but there is certainly plenty of time to put together a winning squad for 2027.

Hosting the World Cup will help Australia create a potential Wallabies team. enabling Rugby Australia to secure lucrative sponsorships and an enhanced broadcast deal ahead of the flagship event. A significant increase in revenue would help RA retain and recruit talent for the 2027 World Cup campaign.

Currently, there are almost as many Australians playing professional rugby overseas as in Australia, including several high profile Wallabies such as second rower Rory Arnold, center Samu Kerevi, winger Marika Koroibete and the five-eighth Quade Cooper.

A change to the so-called Giteau law means coach Dave Rennie will be allowed to select three overseas-based eligible players for the 2023 World Cup. the 2027 World Cup, Australia may be able to bring back the required Wallabies from overseas to play Super Rugby and prevent other players from leaving, making the Giteau law superfluous.

It’s also possible that some players will opt to play in Australia to improve their chances of playing in a home World Cup, which would be a career highlight for many. Extra cash in the coffers would also give RA the chance to poach one or two top rugby league players who could potentially add value to the Wallabies.

Hosting the Women’s World Cup two years later has the potential to spur huge growth in the game, after it took Australian rules football a long time to realize that women make up 50% of the population. The A-League, AFL, NRL and Super Rugby all offer women’s leagues, but the Australian women’s national rugby team is virtually invisible. The Wallaroos have been at the Women’s World Cup since 1998, finishing third in 2010, but only die-hard fans would know.

A successful World Cup at home could significantly raise the Wallaroos’ public profile and potentially put them on a pedestal with the Matildas and the Australian women’s cricket team.

The United States hosted and won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999, leaving a wonderful legacy for American football. The Wallaroos have the opportunity to do something similar for women’s rugby in Australia in 2029.

They are currently ranked fifth in the world, one place ahead of the Wallabies, but their problem is that they rarely play test rugby. Hosting in 2029 is expected to start attracting more international women’s teams to Australia to prepare for the event, raising their profile.

The Wallaroos have never enjoyed the same kind of success as their Australian sevens counterparts, but they can learn from their experience at the Olympics. When Tim Walsh was named coach of the women’s sevens team in 2013, he actively recruited athletes from other sports to build the 2016 Olympic gold medal team.

If the Wallaroos can gain exposure and get more sponsorship dollars, they might be able to emulate the seven-man program and bring in players from other sports to give the team a real shot at success in 2029.

It is imperative that Wallabies and Wallaroos are at their best when the world is focused on Australia. Anything less than reaching the tournament semi-finals on home soil would be seen as a monumental failure, especially for the Wallabies, and would be counterproductive.

RA must also ensure that the multimillion-dollar prize money generated by the two tournaments is not wasted as the windfall of Australia’s hosting of the 2003 men’s tournament.

A Jonny Wilkinson field goal in extra time brought down the Wallabies in the 2003 final in Sydney, but Rugby Australia failed to invest a $44m windfall in a future fund, which would have saved the game and helped it grow. Unfortunately, the game in Australia declined, but has now been given a double chance to revive.

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