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United States to host Rugby World Cup for 1st time

Sydney ferries sail past the illuminated pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

DUBLIN – The United States will stage a Rugby World Cup for the first time after being voted as the host of the men’s tournament in 2031 and the women’s tournament two years later.

World Rugby announced the host nations for all the World Cups from 2025-33 after a meeting of its council in Dublin on Thursday, with Australia also staging back-to-back tournaments in 2027 (men) and 2029 (women).

The sport is breaking new ground by taking its most prestigious tournament to North America, with World Rugby regarding it as an area of untapped potential in both a commercial and sporting sense.

There could be Canadian involvement with the U.S. bid group including Vancouver in a list of cities under consideration for participation.

Rugby Canada offered its congratulations on the winning bid via social media.

“We look forward to supporting the events in North America and exploring opportunities to play a part in the future,” it said.

B.C. Place Stadium has drawn sizable crowds for the Canada Sevens, Canada’s stop on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. The two-day event drew total attendance of 77,096 in 2018.

Canada hosted the women’s World Cup in 2006.

Hosting the two World Cups will cost around US$500 million, with profits and losses shared between World Rugby and USA Rugby. More than 20 American cities are potential hosts for World Cup matches, USA Rugby has said.

The bid received support from the White House, with U.S. President Joe Biden sending a letter to World Rugby last month giving governmental guarantees and his backing for the “development of rugby in the United States.”

The men’s Rugby World Cup is regarded in some parts of the world as the third-biggest sporting event, after the soccer World Cup and the summer Olympics.

The United States is hosting all three events in a five-year span from 2026, starting with the men’s soccer World Cup that year – with Mexico and Canada as co-hosts – and then the Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028.

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