USA Rugby officials say they will refocus bid plans and seek the 2031 Men’s World Cup and 2033 Women’s World Cup after a three-day summit with World Rugby leaders.
Meetings in Denver included World Rugby chief executive officer Alan Gilpin talking budgets and development ideas with USA Rugby and its World Cup bid committee leaders, with plans for a business partnership to stage the back-to-back events on US soil.
US governing body leaders unveiled bid plans for the Rugby World Cup in November seeking either the 2027 or 2031 men’s events and 2029 women’s tournament.
A USA bid release on Friday said World Rugby “is in full support of exploring” a “restructured hosting model” with a “partnership business approach” between host nations and World Rugby, moving away from the rights awarding model so the host nation, union and World Rugby can “maximize strategic outcomes”.
“USA is absolutely primed to host exceptional Rugby World Cups and the productive meetings this week have reinforced that belief,” Gilpin said. “The remodeled hosting strategy allows us for the first time to target nations that are central to rugby’s global growth objectives and the USA is at the very heart of that objective.
“If we want to be globally relevant and strong as a sport, we must look to the likes of the USA.”
The timeline, providing about a decade for staging US events and the advancement of rugby in America, would help the project, as will the push for a strong women’s tournament.
“We are excited by confirmation of USA’s candidature for a women’s event in 2033, which allows us to develop a long-term hosting and growth plan in partnership with USA Rugby and other stakeholders that will help the nation and North America realise its rugby potential in every sense, which is in turn great for everyone in the game.”
Part of the gathering was conducted at the home stadium of the NFL’s Denver Broncos, a 75,000-seat venue in a US rugby hotbed that is a candidate for hosting World Cup matches in the US plan.
Jim Brown, chair of the USA Rugby bid committee, called the meetings “extraordinarily constructive” in the goal of producing two successful World Cups.
“Following a series of assessments and discussion with USA Rugby, we believe a hosting model of men’s and women’s events in 2031 and 2033 is better positioned for the US to set development goals and deliver on our promise of a catalyst for rugby growth in the United States,” Brown said.
USA Rugby chief executive Ross Young added there was confidence in the revised hosting timeline. “We’re very encouraged by the collective consideration we continue to see from USA Rugby stakeholders, the bid committee, candidate host cities, government officials and of course World Rugby,” Young said.
“Our objective from the very beginning has been due diligence, and we’re assured that the concept in place will be a true vehicle for growth.”
A total of 28 US cities expressed interest in staging World Cup games, with venues including NFL venues in Miami, San Francisco and New England.
US venues have hosted Test matches involving top overseas clubs, including Ireland’s 2016 victory over New Zealand at Chicago’s Soldier Field, and San Francisco hosted the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018.
The United States national team hosted New Zealand last November and managed its first-ever tries against the All Blacks in a 104-14 loss at the home venue of the NFL’s Washington Commanders.
© Agence France-Presse