Chris Latham: Adelaide heroics and the 'golden ticket' 2027 World Cup bid

Thu, 10/06/2021, 02:20 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Chris Latham scoring one of five tries during their 2003 World Cup thumping of Namibia. Photo: Getty Images

Chris Latham knows the value of having a World Cup on home soil.

Having played in three, Latham's shining moment came in 2003 when he was thrust into the Wallabies side to face Namibia.

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Australia would go on to record the largest winning margin in World Cup history, defeating the depleted Welwitschias 142-0.

Latham would score five tries in the routing, the single-most by a Wallaby in any international in their history.

With the game played in Adelaide, which is not a traditional Rugby city, Latham told Rugby.com.au he was looking to put a show on as he demonstrated what the sport was all about.

“To have that game in Adelaide was amazing. For a crowd that’s traditionally not a Rugby city and familiar with the game, the atmosphere that week leading up to the game was amazing,” he believes.

“It (the game) was a feeling of excitement. I wanted to put on a show and do as much as a humanly possibly could to excite the crowd and showcase what Rugby is and the product.”

Excitement builds as Australia 2027 Bid launched

For Latham, hosting the third-largest sporting event in the world and the pinnacle of rugby union would be an unmissable moment for Australia and the Pacific.

“The World Cup is the pinnacle of rugby,” Latham said. “Obviously you get the chance to represent your state, if you’re lucky enough you get to do it for your country and the next level on that is doing it at the World Cup.

“To be able to then represent your country at a World Cup at home, you’ve pretty much got the golden ticket.

“…It’s the third-largest sporting event in the world so when that thing comes knocking at the door, you know the supporters are going to come out."

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The bid is expected to deliver up to 30,000+ new participants to the game as well as an output exceeding two billion dollars for the country.

With uncertainty hovering around the world and the sport, the former Reds fullback was adamant the decision to hold the event in Australia was a no-brainer and catalyst for a new golden generation of participants.

“You’re looking at a near $2 billion increase in money I reckon, 200,000 visitors into a country so given what’s we’ve just gone through with COVID and the way that the world is at the moment, it gives the country and rugby a boost,” he believes. “The fact that it's also going to create tens of thousands of jobs, the flow-on effect just keeps going.

“The biggest thing for me is that you’re looking at 30,000 new participants and people to the game. That amount of people introduced to the game and they get involved as members of the club or a junior of a player and that’s whole new generations coming through.

“It just flows on forever and keeps the game going…it’s what we need.”

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