The race for the 2015 and 2019 rugby world cups has begun now that the deadline for bids has past, and the hosts of both tournaments will be announced on the 28th of July.
It has been confirmed that South Africa, England, Italy and Japan have put forward their interest to host the games. Asia has never before hosted a Rugby world cup, although Japan lost their 2011 World Cup bid to New Zealand – something that provoked vast criticism at the time. As it stands today, Japan are the early favourites to host the 2019 event.
If Japan were to win the bid, it would have very a positive effect in the development of global rugby. Bringing rugby to a country like Japan or Italy could increase awareness of the sport and develop surrounding Asian and European countries to become further recognised on the rugby stage.
The 2003 winner England is the current favourite to host the 2015 games and has planned to use such venues as Old Trafford, Wembley, Twickenham and The Millennium Stadium.
Recently Australia, Ireland and Scotland pulled out of their bids for the tournament due to their struggle to meet the £80 million and £96 million demanded by the IRB for the 2015 and 2019 tournaments respectively.
The big question is where should the tournaments go? It would seem fair to have the 2015 tournament go to a northern hemisphere nation after its southern presence in 2011. But should it be brought to a minority rugby nation to further develop global rugby and establish these countries as worthy competitors? Both Japan and Italy would greatly benefit as hosts, but for now we will have to wait until July to find out.
Let us know what you think.
By Callum Sheppard
Callum Sheppard is a Sports Journalism student at Staffordshire University. If you would like to contribute to The Rugby Blog, feel free to get in touch.