GLENDALE, Colorado (AP) — USA Rugby has launched its bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2027 or 2031, aiming to become the first country in North or South America to stage the men’s tournament.
The announcement on Wednesday puts USA Rugby in direct competition with Australia for hosting duties in 2027. Russia was also expected to bid.
“After working on this for a year now, we are confident in the strength of this bid, the support around us, the cities and stadiums interested in hosting, our country’s top-level infrastructure for large-scale sports events and the opportunity the U.S. population of sports fans presents for rugby’s growth,” Jim Brown, USA Rugby’s bid leader, said in a statement.
World Rugby will begin an evaluation phase in February and plans to decide on hosts for both tournaments in May.
Australia is considered the favorite for 2027 since the men’s Rugby World Cup has not been held in the southern hemisphere since 2011, when New Zealand hosted and won the tournament. That was followed by England and Japan. France is hosting the 2023 edition.
It would feature 20 nations and 48 matches over seven weeks.
Australia co-hosted the inaugural World Cup with New Zealand in 1987 and was sole host of the 2003 tournament, when the Wallabies were beaten by England in the final.
USA Rugby also said it will bid to host the women’s Rugby World Cup in 2029. The 2021 tournament in New Zealand was postponed to next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada hosted the women’s Rugby World Cup in 2006 but the other editions have been staged in Europe.
USA Rugby said more than two-dozen cities have expressed interest in staging matches. Those include Boston, New York, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, as well as Vancouver in southwest Canada.
The Rugby World Cup could attract up to 3.1 million fans across 48 matches in the United States, organizers said.
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