Brisbane, Australia ( Associated Press) – Excitement levels plummeted as there were two Rugby World Cup tournaments – the men’s in 2027 and the women’s two years later – losing to Wallabies captain Michael Hooper.
“I’ll be in the stands with beer in hand,” the 117-Test legend said, shortly after World Rugby made the announcement in Dublin on Thursday night.
Hopper, who could be 36 depending on the timing of the 2027 edition, admits he will miss the experience if he actually retires by then.
“How great it would be, to be a part of rugby and experience it on the other side of the fence,” Hooper told the Australian Associated Press. “It would be great to be a part of it but I’ve been absolutely lucky with my career.”
Hooper said the 2023 World Cup in France next year would be his last with the Aussies.
“You never say never,” said Hopper. “But I have this 18-month period and the Tuesdays get harder and harder and it’s like ‘How much are you willing to take for the prize?’ It’s a slogan at times.”
After a final vote in Dublin, World Rugby sealed Australia’s hosting rights for the 2027 and 2029 tournaments. Rugby Australia officials were so confident they would secure both tournaments after having already achieved preferred host status that they held the Sydney Harbor Bridge in green and gold – the colors of the national game – three hours before the announcement.
Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marino estimated the two World Cup tournaments could fetch between 50 and 60 million Australian dollars ($34-$41 million) to the sport’s governing body which was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The group’s net loss for the 2020 fiscal year stood at A$27.1 million ($18.5 million).
“We now have a golden decade of rugby ahead of us, with the British and Irish Lions series in 2025, the Rugby World Cup in 2027 and 2029, the 2032 Olympic Games (in Brisbane) and a host of international men’s and women’s teams due for the XVs and 7s fixtures To tour Australia,” Marino said. “Australia will become the center of the rugby world in the next decade.”
Australian Women’s Rugby president Josephine Sucker said “the impact it has will build a legacy for the sport in the country, not only for Australia but also for the region”.
“We expect more than 30,000 men and women to participate in the games,” Sukkar said.
The Wallabies reached the final of the last Rugby World Cup held in Australia in 2003, losing 20–17 to England after flyhalf Johnny Wilkinson kicked a drop goal with 26 seconds remaining in extra time. It took place at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium in front of about 83,000 spectators. It was the first time two-time champions Australia staged a quadrangle showpiece since co-hosting the inaugural Rugby World Cup with New Zealand in 1987.
The 2027 Men is also expected to attract more than 2 million people over seven weeks of competition at eight or 10 venues across the country, including 200,000 international visitors.
Among other hosting announcements, the Rugby World Cup will be staged in the US for the first time since voting as the host of the men’s event in 2031 and the women’s tournament two years later.
England was given the right to host the women’s tournament in 2025. The next Women’s Rugby World Cup will be played from 8 October. 12 this year in New Zealand, has been delayed from its original March 2021 date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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