Australia loses out to NZ in bid to host women’s World Cup
AUSTRALIAN rugby's year from hell has continued with the nation snubbed in its bid to host the 2021 women's World Cup, pipped by rivals New Zealand in a vote on Wednesday night.
The Kiwis won the bid with 25 votes to Australia's 17 following a World Rugby Council meeting in Dublin.
Australia's bid to run the tournament in the Newcastle and Hunter Region, having secured $10 million in government grants, was also seen as a chance to springboard their campaign to host the 2027 men's World Cup.
Japan will host the men's World Cup next year, followed by France in 2023.
At this stage it appears the battle to host the 2027 tournament is between Australia and Argentina, with influential World Rugby powerbroker Gus Pichot a potentially strong weapon for the South Americans.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said her organisation would use lessons from their failed women's bid to strategise a more compelling bid for 2027.
"There's always learnings as to what's important to people and the focus areas for these types of bids, but you've got to be careful because it is a different comparison, a women's World Cup to a men's World Cup,' Castle said.
"But there are certainly learnings and we'll go away and review the process we've been through and make sure we put our focus and emphasis on those areas.
"It's on record that we are keen to bid for the men's world cup in 2027, so very quickly our focus turns to that."
New Zealand's bid to host the 2021 women's tournament in Auckland and Whangarei prevailed despite having less government money behind their proposal.
Castle, RA chairman Cameron Clyne and head of women's rugby Jilly Collins presented their bid to the World Rugby Council on Wednesday but within hours New Zealand was celebrating.
"I'm hugely excited the event will be held here," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
"New Zealand is the home of women's rugby, the Black Ferns captured our imaginations again when they won their fifth World Cup title last year, and our entire country will get behind the tournament and all the teams participating in 2021.
"This Government is committed to more women and girls getting involved in sport, so we are enthusiastic supporters of bringing this elite women's tournament to New Zealand and inspiring a new generation of women and girls to get involved in rugby."
Castle said the setback would not deter RA from investing heavily in the female game, and has not ruled out bidding for the 2025 women's World Cup.
"We managed to unlock $10 million worth of government funding," she said.
"We had the Newcastle Hunter Region incredibly excited, all the rugby clubs and volunteers in that part of the world that wanted to host a Rugby World Cup, women's Rugby World Cup, so we need to make sure we maximise those opportunities and the tidal wave is coming and is running for women's rugby."