The Rugby World Cup is to be staged in the US for the first time after being voted on Thursday as the host of the men’s event in 2031 and the women’s tournament two years later.
It marks rugby’s biggest attempt to move into the wider American sporting consciousness and unlock what World Rugby — the sport’s international governing body — regards as an area of untapped potential in commercial and sporting terms.
“The golden nugget that everybody wants to get hold of” was how World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont described the US.
“What we will leave in the US is an extremely sustainable, vibrant sport that will go from strength to strength,” Beaumont said.
USA Rugby’s vision is of countrywide membership more than quadrupling to 450,000 by 2031, of stadiums “from coast to coast” staging matches — there have been around 25 venue bids, including from NFL and Major League Soccer arenas — and of significant investment in the domestic Major League Rugby so the US Eagles are a competitive team in time for 2031.
A competitive, perhaps quarter-final-bidding team, would crucially be necessary for the Eagles and the World Cup to get traction in the US.
The Rugby World Cup is staged during September-October, when audiences are already transfixed by the NFL and college football, the MLB pennant races and playoffs, and the start of the NBA and NHL.
The World Cups are “an invitation to increase our levels of awareness, to increase our sport’s fan base,” said Victoria Folayan, who played sevens rugby for the US and is USA Rugby’s athlete representative. “The doors are opening. Being able to take that step is just the beginning.”
Meanwhile, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit up in green and gold after Australia was awarded the men’s World Cup in 2027 and the women’s tournament in 2029.
The men’s World Cup is returning to Australia for the first time since 2003.
It is being viewed as a chance to rejuvenate rugby in the country as the World Cups come after the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia in 2025, bringing much-needed revenue to its governing body that was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos described it as “the start of a new era for Australian Rugby.”
“Australia will become the center of the rugby world over the next decade,” he said, “and that is incredibly exciting.”
England was announced as the host of the women’s World Cup in 2025.
Next year’s men’s event is to be played in France.
Taiwanese badminton star Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) yesterday beat Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in their women’s singles semi-final match to advance to today’s final at the Thailand Open. The top-seeded Tai overcame a 10-21 first-game loss to seventh seed and former world champion Ratchanok to dominate the final two games 21-13, 21-19 in 58 minutes of play at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. World No. 2 Tai is today to face world No. 4 Chen Yufei of China. Chen yesterday bested Pusarla Venkata Sindhu 21-17, 21-16 to secure her spot in the final of the Super 500 tournament. On Friday, Tai overpowered China’s He Bingjiao 21-10,
Wimbledon, widely regarded as the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, was on Friday stripped of ranking points by the sport’s main tours in a move that threatens to reduce the Grand Slam to the status of a high-profile exhibition event. The decision by the ATP and WTA was in response to Wimbledon banning Russian and Belarusian players following the invasion of Ukraine. “It is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022,” an ATP statement said. “Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a
Defending champions Taichung Blue Whale thrashed Taoyuan Mars 6-0 in Taiwanese women’s soccer over the weekend, while Hualien City rolled on with their fourth win to sit atop the league table. While Thai fullback Pitsamai Sornsai partnered with compatriot goalkeeper Nattaruja Muthtanawech on defense, Japanese midfielder Maho Tanaka opened the scoring for Blue Whale in Saturday’s match, kicking a screamer on a volley from outside the penalty box — her first goal of the season. The match remained 1-0 heading into the break, although Taoyuan Mars striker Ho Chia-huan, a student at Hsing Wu High School in New Taipei City, had good
Faced with a machete, a fighter leaps and locks his legs around another man’s neck, bringing him crashing down to a cacophony of cheers. This is vovinam, Vietnam’s acrobatic martial art with roots dating back to the country’s struggle for independence, and it is showing at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games for the first time since 2013. Proponents are trained to use not only their hands and legs to grapple a rival to the ground, but also fend off assailants armed with blades. Short for “Vo Viet Nam” (literally “Vietnamese martial arts”) it was inspired by nationalists who sought an end to the