By George Sessions, PA
The destination of five rugby World Cups will be confirmed on Thursday when the World Rugby Council vote in Dublin on host countries for the upcoming tournaments.
While France are geared up to welcome nations from across the globe in 2023, there are several other key decisions to be made for the men’s and women’s editions in the years to follow.
England are the frontrunners to host the 2025 Women’s World Cup while Australia look set to host the 2027 Men’s World Cup and the women’s showpiece two years later.
𝐌𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐚 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐲: Rugby World Cup future hosts announcement
On 12 May, the World Rugby Council will select the host nations for every @rugbyworldcup (men’s and women’s) between 2025 and 2033.
Media can register to attend at https://t.co/rNNhtU7htS pic.twitter.com/ycbhr6u1Vx
— World Rugby Media (@worldrugbymedia) April 22, 2022
The USA is set to be awarded the 2031 and 2033 editions in a move that would help grow the sport in the country, given it does not hold the history and tradition associated with England and Australia when it comes to rugby union.
US President Joe Biden expressed his support for USA Rugby’s bid last month with a letter which was part of material submitted ahead of Thursday’s World Rugby Council meeting in Ireland, where a vote followed by a press conference to announce the respective hosts will take place.
USA international Nick Civetta will be long retired by the time the 2031 World Cup comes around, but he insists his current team-mates have a big role to play in America’s bid.
The United States face Chile in a two-legged qualifier in July to decide who will qualify for the 2023 World Cup in France.
Civetta recently helped Oxford University to Varsity success at Twickenham and believes it is imperative USA are represented in France next year.
“As a player and as someone who wants to go to this World Cup, I think we have a massive role,” he told the PA news agency.
“We still have to qualify this summer and we have to show World Rugby we are a serious outfit. Covid was tough on the union, we went two years without a Test match and it absolutely killed our ability to develop players and to prepare ourselves properly for qualification for this World Cup.
“We are massively looking forward to the opportunity to qualify this summer and there is a huge amount of energy that will go into that.
“In the long term obviously it would be massive to get the World Cup. The amount of investment that could flow into the sport in the US during that time frame and the opportunity is massive.
“It comes at a time when the MLR (Major League Rugby) is growing, the quality of play is increasing every week and the visibility. Those two things are aligning really nicely.
“If we’re able to get the World Cup in the US, it would be a game-changer for the finances of the game. The finances in the US has always been an issue but having a goal that is set in stone nine to 10 years down the road should give a lot of investors a lot of confidence and should bring a sea change.”
Former Newcastle and Doncaster second row Civetta recently returned across the Atlantic to link up with Rugby New York, who ply their trade in the MLR – North America’s professional division.
While the MLR remains in its infancy, it is part of a long-term strategy to grow rugby in the USA and heavily linked to the 2031 and 2033 World Cup bids.
Critics of handing the tournament to a tier-two nation remain vocal but Civetta feels a transformation of the sport akin to what has happened in Japan, hosts of the most recent World Cup, may occur.
The chair of the US Rugby Players’ Association added: “If we could have Japan’s trajectory that would be fantastic and a really ideal situation.
“The good thing with having a nine to 10-year time span is money will flow into the MLR but it will also flow into USA Rugby so we will be able to make better commitments to our playing base, be more organised and get guys together more often.
“A big part of the challenge now is getting the time as a national team to prepare and the nice thing about the MLR season is it lines up with our Test fixtures as well so there is never a situation where you are missing the bulk of your guys because they have MLR commitments or there is challenges from clubs.
“If we do get the World Cup it will as well be a huge incentive for players playing in Europe, which there is only four or five, to get them back in the US because the opportunity financially will be much better.”