Mystery surrounds Australia’s World Cup rivals

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan is confident but not complacent of landing the 2027 Rugby World Cup hosting rights in what would be a enormous boost to the rebuilding code.

Australia officially launched its bid in Sydney on Thursday and is getting on the front foot with its campaign against yet to be confirmed competition.

France is hosting the 2023 World Cup while Australia hosted the 2003 tournament and co-hosted the inaugural 1987 edition with New Zealand.

World Rugby will announce the successful bid in May next year.

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Australian Rugby World Cup 2027 Bid Launch officials, players and participants at the Museum of Contemporary Art. (Getty)

“We know that the USA is there for ’27 and ’31,” McLennan told reporters.

“Russia’s put its hand up but I don’t know if they can handle it. There might be a Celtic bid as well in the next few weeks but we’re committed to putting the best bid forward.

“We’re not thinking about missing out. We’re dedicated to winning.

“We’re not being complacent, what you saw today was a highly professional, well organised bid process. Most people at World Rugby think that we’re ahead of the curve but we’re not being complacent and we’re putting the right resources in place.”

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Australia’s high powered bid team includes former Prime Minister Josh Howard, Sir Rod Eddington, Sir Peter Cosgrove, John Coates, Elizabeth Gaines, Phil Kearns, John Eales and Gary Ella.

“Everyone knows that we’re serious so I think we stand a good chance if we play our cards right,” McLennan said, adding that it was time for the RWC to return to the southern hemisphere.

“I think it’s due to come here. We’ve proven in a post-pandemic world we can manage these big events better than anyone… I think there’s a general acknowledgment that it’s due to come south. It’s been quite a few years since it’s been played in the southern hemisphere and we’re one of the most historic rugby nations going forward so they know that we’ll manage the tournament well.”

Australian Rugby World Cup 2027 Bid Advisory Board member John Eales speaks. (Getty)

Former Wallabies captain Eales said it was not a bad thing that Australia didn’t yet know who its opponents were.

“Because you focus so intensely on what you can do well, rather than how you’ll counter other people,” Eales told Wide World of Sports.

“So the opportunity to create a bid and the vision for a tournament that stands on its own and is really successful and is great for Australia, but equally important of course is that it’s great for World Rugby.

“You have to remember how important the World Cup is for World Rugby – they have to use this as a vehicle to then fund the game through those next four years through those cycles. So you really do need a safe pair of hands with this, and I know in Australia we’ve got those safe hands.”

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