It was expected for several months, but that didn’t make the announcement any less exciting.
Earlier today, World Rugby voted unanimously to approve USA Rugby as the host of the 2031 men’s and 2023 women’s World Cups. As expected, England was named the host of the 2025 women’s event, while Australia will host in 2027 and 2029.
The announcement was not without some surprises. Last night, multiple publications reported that the 2031 men’s competition could shift from its current to 20-team structure to an expanded 24-team competition. If the change goes through, the competition would switch to six pools of four teams and add a knockout Round of 16. The total number of matches across the competition would expand from forty seven to fifty one.
A nine year runway is long, but progress must be consistent. Off the field, the confirmation of cities and structure will be the next major step. On the field, qualifying for the 2023 event in France is the men’s focus, while the women are set to play the postponed 2021 event in New Zealand later this year.
Thankfully, 2031 and 2033 qualification is already in the books.