Rugby World Cup will be hosted in the United States for the first time in 2031 after the game’s governing body named the host nations for five men’s and women’s tournaments.
Australia will host the 2027 men’s World Cup, with women’s tournaments going to England (2025), Australia (2029) and the United States (2033).
By bringing the showpiece to North America, officials hope to help the sport grow in a non-traditional rugby nation.
“Today we welcomed three exceptional host nations to the Rugby World Cup – England, Australia and the USA – which offer unprecedented certainty and an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate the growth and impact of rugby around the world,” said the World Rugby Chairman, Bill Beaumont.
“It’s great for rugby, for fans and for the host nations.”
USA Rugby Chief Executive Ross Young said: “We look forward to partnering with World Rugby in the years to come to ensure our preparations for these tournaments and the events themselves are a paradigm shift catalyst for the growth of our sport, not just here in the United States, but around the world.”
World Rugby made no surprises with its announcements on Thursday.
Officials were determined to avoid a repeat of the situation when South Africa was chosen by an independent judging panel as the preferred venue for the 2023 World Cup, only to lose to France in a subsequent vote.
– US market –
By bringing the event to the United States, rugby bosses hope to gain a foothold in a lucrative market dominated by homegrown sports such as American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey.
The hope is that by 2031 the Eagles – as the US men’s team is known – could be competitive enough to match the performance of 2019 hosts Japan, another rising rugby union nation.
Japan reached the last eight of their home World Cup three years ago in a tournament won by South Africa.
However, the Eagles have yet to qualify for next year’s World Cup in France as the team will face Chile in a two-legged qualifier in July.
To make teams like the United States more competitive, officials are looking to restructure existing international windows in July and November to ensure they have more meaningful games between World Cups – a thorny issue since the sport turned professional in 1995.
Australia last hosted the World Cup in 2003 when the Wallabies were beaten by England in the final.
Eddie Jones, then Australia manager, is now in charge of England.
“We are delighted to welcome not just one, but two Rugby World Cups to our shores,” said Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan.
“It is a game changer for rugby in this country, a unique opportunity to revitalize and secure the future of the sport here and to see the game we all love grow and thrive for years to come.”
The England women’s side are huge favorites to win this year’s coronavirus-delayed World Cup in New Zealand, home of the reigning champions, on a streak of 23 straight wins.
England Rugby Football Union Chief Operating Officer and former England captain Sue Day said: “We are thrilled to be hosting the 2025 Women’s World Cup – it’s going to be amazing.
“As we have seen at other home world championships in cricket, hockey and netball, a world championship will further advance all women’s sport.”