The United States have been confirmed as the host of both the 2031 Men’s Rugby World Cup and the 2033 Women’s Rugby World Cup as World Rugby lays out the schedule for the next 11 years of the sport.
The announcement came on Thursday in Dublin, with England the hosts of the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup, and Australia announced as the destination for the 2027 Men’s Rugby World Cup and 2029 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
The announcement of Australia and the U.S. as double hosts for both competitions is the first time World Rugby — the governing body of the sport — has awarded both premier tournaments to the same country over a two-year period as part of a new strategic decision announced last November.
“Today, we have approved three exceptional Rugby World Cup host nations — England, Australia and USA — providing unprecedented certainty and an unparalleled opportunity to accelerate the growth and impact of rugby globally. It is great for rugby, for fans and for the host nations,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said.
“Today is a landmark moment for the sport, and an exciting development for fans. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making this dream a reality as we look to deliver a truly global sport for all.”
Following the 2023 men’s World Cup in France, England will host the 2025 Women’s World Cup (having previously staged it in 2010), with the tournament poised to increase qualified teams from 12 to 16.
The 2027 men’s World Cup in Australia follows three in the northern hemisphere (2015 England, 2019 Japan, 2023 France) and their bid edged ahead of Argentina’s, while Russia withdrew theirs in December 2020. This is the second time Australia has hosted a men’s World Cup after 2003, and it will take place from September 10 to October 23, 2027.
The 2029 World Cup will be the second time the Southern Hemisphere has hosted the women’s competition following the delayed 2021 World Cup which takes place in New Zealand in October 2022.
For 2031 and 2033, the announcement of the U.S. comes after World Rugby confirmed back in November it had entered “exclusive discussions” with the U.S. in relation to hosting both global rugby events. The U.S. were originally interested in hosting the men’s 2027 competition but turned their attention to 2031 to give itself enough time to fine-tune plans.
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President Joe Biden issued his support for the U.S. bid in April and said the government guarantees required to host such a tournament would be “executed by officials who have the competence and authority.” Biden added the government looked forward to helping “deliver the most successful Rugby World Cups in history.” World Rugby talk of the nine-year runway giving them enough time to transform the sport in the U.S. as it prepares to host rugby’s biggest events.
Sources told ESPN that the men’s tournament is expected to stay in its existing October-November window come 2031, with the U.S. bid for both tournaments including NFL stadiums among the 25 prospective host cities: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Birmingham, Alabama; Boston; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tennessee; New York/New Jersey; Orlando, Florida; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; San Diego; San Francisco Bay Area; Seattle; Washington, D.C.
USA Rugby chief executive Ross Young said: “I speak for the rugby community and fans across the United States when I express our sincere gratitude to World Rugby for their trust and endorsement of our vision to grow this incredible sport exponentially across our country.
“USA Rugby will now venture into a new era and ensure the sport’s most treasured event is a springboard for creating lasting, sustainable enthusiasm and passion for rugby from coast to coast. We look forward to partnering with World Rugby in the years ahead to ensure that our preparations for these tournaments and the events themselves are a paradigm-shifting catalyst for the growth of our sport, not only here in the United States but around the world.”