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Rugby Australia await double Cup vote

The Sydney Harbour Bridge will be lit up in green and gold as Australian rugby awaits confirmation of two World Cups for the country in the next seven years.

The World Rugby Council is set to formally vote on the men’s 2027 and women’s 2029 World Cups late on Thursday night in Dublin, with Australia all-but certain to earn both tournaments after winning preferred host status in the streamlined bid process.

On Thursday night the famous bridge’s pillars will be lit in RA’s Cup bid colours as Wallabies and Wallaroos captains Michael Hooper and Shannon Parry, RA president David Codey and president of Australian Women’s Rugby Josephine Sukkar gather at the Sydney Opera House in anticipation of the announcement.

Confirmation of Australia’s first World Cup since hosting the men’s 2003 event is expected to begin a rejuvenation of the code in the country.

England will visit for three Tests in July, before a World Cup next year in France, a British & Irish Lions tour of Australia in 2025 and Brisbane’s Olympics featuring rugby sevens in 2032.

Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos estimated the two World Cups could bring between $50 and 60 million to the cash-strapped governing body and help return the sport to its glory days down under.

That forecast comes after the organisation considered reverting to amateur status when it recorded a net deficit of $27.1 million for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“(This is) huge for us in terms of resetting our whole landscape,” Marinos said earlier this year.

“Not only about the revenue you generate out of the event, it’s about connecting with new commercial partners, re-engage with broadcasters.

“We’re living in an interesting age – the broadcast and digital world is going through seismic change.

“Events like this … create a diversified offering. If we’re smart from the outset, we can capitalise on it.”

The 2027 event, 24 years since Australia reached the final in Sydney, is expected to feature between eight and 10 match venues.

But many others will serve as training bases, while art, wine and food trails will be among the lures set to attract tourists seeking more from their experience than rugby.

All told, the 2027 event is projected to attract more than two million people across seven weeks of competition, including 200,000 international visitors, and generate a $2.5 billion boost for the economy.

Organisers said it will create 13,300 jobs and stimulate $500 million in new trade and investment.

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