Rugby World Cup 2027: Fast-tracking Rugby’s rise in Western Australia

Wed, 18/08/2021, 07:46 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
All Blacks secure the Bledisloe Cup for another year with a dominant display at Eden Park in Bledisloe Two

Force and former All Blacks legend Richard Kahui believes a successful Rugby World Cup 2027 bid can help fast-track the sport's growth in Western Australia.

Kahui got a first-hand impression of the power of a World Cup ten years ago when it arrived in New Zealand in 2011.

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The 36-year-old helped guide the All Blacks to their second title and believes it can help inspire the next generation of players and give them something to strive for.

“Looking at the 2027 World Cup bid, I know in ’11 how infectious it was throughout the whole country and it inspired a new generation of players,” Kahui told reporters on Wednesday ahead of the third Bledisloe Cup on August 28.

“From town-to-town, whether it was the All Blacks or any other international team, there was a ton of support. Having a World Cup or a Bledisloe Cup like this is huge for inspiring the next generation to strive to play for."

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Kahui has been an integral part of the Force since their return to Super Rugby in 2020.

The club's rise has been meteoric over the past 12 months, culminating in their first finals appearance in May.

He admits the growing support of the sport in the west has been a pleasant surprise and believes continual success and securing one of the biggest sporting events in the world can help create a lasting legacy in WA and Australia.

“It was surprising, to be honest,” he admitted. “There’s a huge appetite for Rugby here in WA.

"I think if you look at the club scene, there are ten teams that are all really high quality and close with each other and the Force being put back into Super Rugby, we had some great crowds and started to play some good footy with success.

“I think it inspired some rugby players throughout the club scene in Perth to say ‘Hey, there’s a team here to aspire to play for’ and to have games like (Bledisloe III) here, that’s the pinnacle.

“The fact every (Bledisloe) game that comes here sells out shows you how much WA wants Rugby.”

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Kahui has recently taken up a role in the club helping to develop the players in the Force's academy who will be in their prime come 2027.

Having the continual presence of the Force in Super Rugby will be major in growing support for the code and for a potential World Cup, with Perth's Optus Stadium one of three venues eligible to host the Final.

“Being back in Super Rugby and having a team to play for, that’s the main thing,” he added.

“As a team, if we can be more successful like how we made our first final this year, we were disappointed with the result in the end but I think the support we had and the amount of people talking about rugby is positive.

“For us as a team, it’s important to win but we want to inspire that next generation and part of that is winning. We’ve already started smashing into each other so we’re preparing for next season in 2022."

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