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Russia muscles in on Australia’s 2027 Rugby World Cup hopes

The initiative had received the support of the Russian president, it added.

Australia had been considered favourites to win the hosting rights, with the US and potentially South Africa also in the running. But, along with Russia, RA is expecting others to come out of the woodwork between now and when the formal application process starts.

World Rugby is expected to announce the bid timeline in the next two to three weeks, with the official bidding campaign period due to begin in February and the hosts declared in May. It is expected to announce the hosts of the 2027 and 2031 tournaments at the same time.

Crash tackled? Russia could be a strong rival for Australia's 2027 Rugby World Cup hosting dream.

Crash tackled? Russia could be a strong rival for Australia’s 2027 Rugby World Cup hosting dream. Credit:AP

How serious Russia’s chances are remains to be seen. France will host the next World Cup in 2023, making it the third northern hemisphere nation in a row to have the tournament after England in 2015 and Japan last year.

Australia’s chances of winning the bid as a southern hemisphere host would be strong, but a north-south division is not the only way World Rugby can cut the World Cup hosting cake.

It also looks at host nations in terms of whether they are traditional or emerging rugby markets. This assessment would make the US, for example, a potentially attractive 2027 host after heavyweight France in 2023 (which followed another emerging market, Japan).

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RA is treating everyone as a potentially serious rival. Chairman Hamish McLennan recently beefed up his hand-picked bid advisory board with IOC vice president John Coates and Wallaby Gary Ella.

They join a high-powered line-up of former prime minister John Howard, former governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove, Qantas senior executive Olivia Wirth, World Cup-winning Wallabies captain John Eales, Fortescue Metals Group chief Elizabeth Gaines and McLennan. The board is being chaired by Sir Rod Eddington.

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