Hosting the 2027 Rugby World Cup will be a game-changing opportunity to revitalise the game on and off the field in Australia, Rugby Australia Chief Andy Marinos said on Thursday (November 25) after World Rugby announced the country’s bid as a preferred candidate.

In a departure from usual practice, the World Rugby Council on Wednesday (November 24) voted to work in an exclusive partnership with Australia ahead of the final decision in May next year.

The 15-man game has always vied for talent and an audience with the more popular Australian Rules and rugby league codes and there has been a marked decline in popularity since the last World Cup.

A financial crisis compounded by the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered efforts to arrest the decline and the 2027 World Cup was targeted as a springboard to a new era.