Australia is set to host rugby union’s women’s Rugby World Cup (RWC) in 2029 after being named the preferred candidate for the event by the World Rugby governing body.
The nomination means Australia is set to host both the men’s RWC in 2027 and the women’s edition for the first time in 2029, after also being named the preferred candidate for the men’s tournament in November.
Australia last hosted the men’s RWC in 2003.
The announcement comes a week before World Rugby is due to meet with national governing body Rugby Australia and representatives from Australian national and state governments to discuss both the 2027 and 2029 bids.
The governing body will then vote on the host for the two tournaments, as well as the 2025 women’s tournament, at a meeting in Dublin, Ireland next month.
England has been named the preferred candidate to host the 2025 event and is also bidding to host the 2031 men’s tournament.
Hamish McLennan, Rugby Australia chairman, said: “This is a truly wonderful addition to our bid for Rugby World Cup 2027 and we would love to welcome the pinnacle event on the women’s XV’s calendar to our shores for the first time in 2029.
“Today’s announcement is another step in the right direction for Rugby in Australia as we head toward the final decision by World Rugby Council in May.”
Alan Gilpin, World Rugby chief executive, said: “Confirmation of Australia’s candidacy represents a major milestone for the global advancement of women’s rugby, completing a roadmap of RWC hosting all the way through to 2033 which is supported by the exciting new WXV competition which launches next year.
“This unprecedented certainty will further enable World Rugby to work with all our stakeholders to accelerate fan, broadcast, sponsorship, and participation opportunities for the women’s game on a global basis.”
WXV is World Rugby’s new annual national competition due to launch next year involving 16 teams.
Last week, Rugby Australia welcomed the confirmation of additional funding and support in its bid to host the men’s and women’s editions of the RWC.
It will include support for event delivery and operations should bidding be successful, as well as support for “legacy initiatives across Rugby Australia’s domestic programs and investment into Pacific-focused programs”.
The Australian government also committed to providing in-kind operational services and support for event delivery.
The US was also a frontrunner for hosting the tournaments in 2027 and 2029 but has now entered an ‘exclusive dialogue’ with World Rugby about the same events in 2031 and 2033.
Last week, it was reported that US president Joe Biden is set to back the country’s bid for the 2031 and 2033 tournaments with a letter to World Rugby president Bill Beaumont despite concerns the tournaments would not be popular enough in the country to fill stadiums.
The next edition of the RWC will be the 2021 women’s edition, which will be held in New Zealand from October 8 to November 12 this year having been postponed by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The next version of the men’s RWC will be held next year in France.