Rugby World Cup 2023
The 2023 Rugby World Cup in France is around the corner. The draw for the 2027 and 2031 hosts is now complete. USA here we come!
With the Rugby World Cup 2023 just over a year away, we look at the past, present and future hosting countries. With the recent host draw, with some interesting results, it does look like rugby fans all over the world will be in for a treat.
Global expansion is the name of the game, and the schedule for the next few rugby world cups indicates as much. With Japan hosting a successful tournament in 2019, France will again put on the 2023 edition. Moving to the Southern Hemisphere next, Australia hosts the 2027 event. Remaining in a central European location would be the easy option from a planning and organization perspective, but this would not be the best for the expansion of the game.
We are in for an exciting few World Cup years ahead.
Rugby in the USA
The land of the free. Home to over 300 million people, the United States of America is a huge market for any product. The rugby world has noticed, and as such the 2031 IRB Rugby World Cup will take place there.
In a sports environment that includes the NFL, NHL, and NBA one does wonder if/ where the game of rugby fits in. However, as noticed in recent times, the USA is branching out to non-traditional sports more than ever before. The US female football team is a fitting example. As winners of the last 2 Football World Cups, the sport is clearly in a healthy space in America (from a women’s perspective at least).
Japan’s 2019 Success
When Japan was announced as hosts of the 2019 Rugby World Cup many people were left puzzled by the decision. Japan is not a traditional rugby powerhouse, Japan is known more for its prowess in sumo wrestling and the martial arts.
There is however a large Western influence in Japan. The success of baseball is a true indication of this. With Rugby, while not considered mainstream, it is perhaps the sport with the largest potential to grow. Following the successful 2015 Rugby World cup campaign in England, where Eddie Jones’s team shocked favourites South Africa in their pool game, Japanese rugby received the attention of fans world over.
The 2019 event was a major success for the nation of Japan. Reported as the most economically successful edition to date, the event is reported to have added 2.6 billion EURO to the countries’ GDP. Over 240 000 international visitors made their way to Japan over the six week-long competition.
The matches were watched by an accumulative worldwide television audience of 850 million people, which is a 26% increase on the audience reported for the 2015 World Cup. The well-run event, paired with the unique Japanese culture was a hit for all who travelled there. Japan’s success undoubtedly led to the idea that the event could occur on American soil.
Previous Rugby World Cup Tournaments
Past Rugby World Cups
The Rugby World Cup was first held jointly by Australia and New Zealand in 1987. The All Blacks triumphed in the inaugural competition, winning the one-sided final against France.
In 1991 England, France, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales co-hosted the event. This time Australia walked away champions, beating England in the final.
1995 was a special year for South Africa, being banned from international sports due to their apartheid policies, South Africa returned once the racist system was dismantled in 1992. With Nelson Mandela as president in 1995, one truly felt that positive change was coming South Africa’s way. Buoyed by home ground support, the Springboks won the final against New Zealand, sealed with a drop goal by Joel Stransky in extra time.
In 1999 Australia won the event for the second time. Hosted by Wales, favourites South Africa and New Zealand were both losers in their respective semi-finals. France again came up short in the final against the Wallabies.
In 2003 the tournament moved south again to Australia. Beaten by England, the hosts lost the final. A Johnny Wilkinson drop goal in extra time was a close repeat of Stransky’s heroics 8 years previously.
For the first time individually, France hosted the 2007 World Cup. The reigning champions England went down to the Springboks in the final. South Africa had finally won their second World Cup.
Moving to 2011, New Zealand welcomed the rugby world to her shores. Having ‘only’ won the event once, the All Blacks were under immense pressure to deliver in front of their home fans. And deliver they did, winning a tightly contested final against France.
Future Scheduled World Cups
2015 was another memorable event, again hosted by England. The most successful team in the professional age, New Zealand became back-to-back winners, after soundly beating Australia in the final. This victory set New Zealand aside as the only nation to have won the event three times.
Moving to Japan in 2019, the rugby world descended on newcomers Japan. Following their successful stint in 2015, the Japanese team out-performed a handful of higher-ranked teams, finally falling to South Africa in the Quarter-finals. The Springboks won the final against England. And so became the second team, along with New Zealand, to have won the event on three occasions.
Rugby World Cup 2023 and beyond
For the second time, France will host the Rugby World Cup 2023. After hosting a successful edition in 2007, there is no reason the tournament cannot build on the positive momentum gained in Japan. All the pressure will be on the French team. They have never won a World Cup although thrice leaving as runners-up. Winning the six nations in 2022 is a huge statement to all other teams hoping for glory. Can they follow it up on the biggest stage though?
2027 in Australia comes at a time when rugby needs a boost in the sports-mad country. Competing with many other sports for the nation’s attention, success by the 2-time winners will go a long way in re-igniting the rugby flame down under.
The big talking point is the American edition in 2031 and how it will come to life. Everything is bigger and better in the USA, and sport is no different. Continuing the move away from traditional rugby regions, America represents a golden opportunity to expand the game globally.
While America boasts a sizable population, only 1.5 million people there play rugby. The US rugby market is still tiny compared to traditional American sports. The goal with the Rugby World Cup 2031 hosted there will be to increase interest in the host country itself. There is no reason that this cannot be a major success. One also feels that if Americans start taking a more serious interest in the 15-man game, the traditionally successful nations could be in for a wake-up call.
Rugby is not as popular as football when compared on a global scale. World Rugby has realised that in order to grow the game, rugby needs to increase its fan base through geographic expansion. Moving the World Cup event to these untapped markets is a clear indication of World Rugby’s intent going forward. What we know for sure and that is the Americans know how to put on a show, we cannot wait.
Online Rugby Betting
The rugby world cup 2023 is around the corner and will then make its way to America in 2031. Online betting on rugby is sure to increase massively. Online sports betting is now being regulated by multiple states and operators will all want to grab a share of the spoils.
If you are new to online betting or looking for the best sports betting sites in South Africa read our detailed reviews of the top bookies.