It looks almost certain that the Rugby World Cup planning cycle for the next decade is almost complete.
World Rugby has conferred preferred candidate status on Australia to host the 2027 Men’s renewal and England to do likewise in 2025 for the Women’s edition.
It did appear likely that the United States would be in the running for 2027 but now that looks much more likely to happen in 2031 when World Rugby has also stated it is in targeted dialogue with one particular bidding country for that year.
This would satisfy the desired criteria of going into new or developing markets, as proved successful with Japan in 2019. Having it outside of Europe for three out of four tournaments since England 2015 would make the obvious choice to come back in 2035 and with England and France the two latest hosts by that time, It looks as if the logical conclusion would be Ireland hosting or co-hosting that year.
Italy would have the capacity to host without a doubt but Ireland is the only major nation and near original founder of the International Rugby Board so that is another box checked.
The Aviva Stadium would be 25 years old by then and Croke Park also moving into middle age but it does look likely that we would be serious contenders.
These things never happen by chance and it will likely be one of the items on the agenda of the incoming CEO when he or she pulls up a chair early in 2022.
If England does come through to host the Women’s edition in 2025 that would be an added incentive for Ireland to atone for missing out on the trip to Australia next year.
Sport for Business Perspective
There is a serious opportunity for Ireland to continue what could be a decade of our being one of the leading host nations in World sport. Cricket and Football World Cups are firmly in the mix for hosting part of their 2030 renewals on this island and even though it seems far away, the opportunity is coming sooner than might be imagined to finally host a Rugby World Cup here too.
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