Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle has today reaffirmed Rugby Australia’s support for the NSW Government’s Sydney stadiums redevelopment plan.
Rugby Australia announced its intentions last December to bid for the hosting rights for the next Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2021 as well as the 2027 Rugby World Cup.
Australia has never hosted the women’s tournament and last hosted the men’s showpiece in 2003, where the Qantas Wallabies were defeated by England in arguably the most memorable Final in the tournament’s history.
Castle spent the past week in Dublin at World Rugby meetings, where it was confirmed the bidding process for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup would open in mid-2018.
“The criteria for the bids is yet to be confirmed but its clear that stadium infrastructure is going to carry significant weight in our bids for both the 2021 Women’s and 2027 Men’s Rugby World Cups,” said Castle.
“We have been consistent in our view that Sydney does not currently have dedicated rectangular stadiums that satisfy the requirements of these major events in terms of capacity and fan experience. To be considered a serious contender, we need multiple options for quality venues and we have been very clear with the NSW Government of the need to have a dedicated large-scale rectangular stadium if it wants to host a Rugby World Cup Final.
“The NSW Government under Premier Gladys Berejiklian have shown strong vision and leadership in forging ahead with plans to build world class stadiums at Olympic Park and Moore Park, and we look forward to the opening of the new Parramatta Stadium next year.
“It was also encouraging last week to see the NSW State Opposition Leader, Luke Foley, publicly back the rebuild of ANZ Stadium,” she said.
Australia’s hosting of the 2003 Rugby World Cup led to a 20 per cent spike in junior Rugby registrations nationally the following year, as well as injecting almost $500 million into the Australian economy.
“Hosting both the Women’s and Men’s Rugby World Cup in Australia around a 2025 British & Irish Lions Tour would provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the game, all sports fans, and the country,” said Castle.
“On the back of the 2016 Rio Olympics we’ve seen a surge in participation in the Sevens format, particular in young girls and women after the Gold Medal success of our Women’s team.
“A Women’s Rugby World Cup on home soil will have a similar effect on interest among young girls and women in the traditional form of the game, which is also growing at a proportionately faster rate than the men’s game.
“But it isn’t just Rugby that will benefit from hosting these World Cups, the impact will be felt across the country. The most recent Rugby World Cup in England provided a massive economic windfall for the British Government, as well as bringing in over 400,000 visitors and creating tens of thousands of jobs.
“We are planning a very strong bid and look forward to kicking off that process over the coming months.
“We congratulate the NSW Government on its Sydney stadiums commitment, without which we simply would not be able mount competitive bids for these tournaments.”