Argentina to pull out of Rugby World Cup bid

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Rugby World Cup Argentina 2027 Image: Rugby World

Australia has come out as the frontrunner to stage the 2027 Rugby World Cup after it became clear that Argentina will no longer be in the fray and is set to end its bid to stage the event.

Argentina expressed its desire to bid for the event way back in 2016. Former World Rugby Vice-Chairman Agustín Pichot, who captained Argentina as a player, has now revealed that the South American nation is set to step aside in a move that would leave Australia as the main contender, although the Russian Rugby Union has previously expressed an interest in hosting the sporting showpiece.

However, the Argentine Rugby Union is yet to make an official announcement in this regard.

Pichot’s had made a bid to become the World Rugby Chairman but was pipped to the post with Bill Beaumont being re-elected the World Rugby Chairman recently.

Media reports quoted Pichot as stating, “We discussed it with Australia and we thought it was not good for us to compete against our partner. So, we decided to just let Australia run because they also had a stronger project.”

The Rugby World Cup has never been held in South America. In 2019, Japan hosted the sporting spectacle, with the 2023 event scheduled to take place in France. Australia last played host to the event in 2003.

Pichot stood for the World Rugby Chairmanship against Bill Beaumont, who sought re-election for another four-year term, but Pichot bit the dust and Beaumont is once again the World Rugby Chairman for four years. When Beaumont announced his intention to stand for re-election back in January this year, he named French Rugby Federation (FFR) President Bernard Laporte as his candidate for Vice-Chairman, and not Pichot. Laporte is now the World Rugby Vice-President.

Rugby Australia, which backed Pichot’s nomination, fears that it could lose around A$120m (€70.2m/$75.9m) this year due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and if it bags hosting rights for the Rugby World Cup it would provide a shot in the arm in regard to Rugby Australia’s economic health. A decision on the host for the 2027 event is set to be made next year.

Australia, co-hosts of the inaugural World Cup with New Zealand in 1987 and the venue for the highly-successful 2003 edition, would be strong favorites to host the 2027 tournament if Argentina pulled out.

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