Townsville’s new stadium and Test-week operations are auditioning for a prized part in Australia’s Rugby World Cup 2027 bid.
Saturday’s historic Test double-header at Queensland Country Bank Stadium will potentially capture the eyeballs of 45 million rugby fans worldwide.
As massive as the day is with the Wallabies, Argentina, All Blacks and Springboks on the menu, how successfully it runs can hook an even grander event.
Australia is to put forward 12 stadium picks from around the country within the Rugby World Cup 2027 document that World Rugby will make a decision on early next year. The United States is also in the running.
“There will be 12 stadia put forward within our bid. It’s not Rugby Australia’s sole decision on which would ultimately host games. World Rugby will have an input to that because a maximum of 10 will be used,” said Phil Kearns, the executive director of Australia’s Rugby World Cup 2027 Bid.
“Absolutely, Saturday is an audition for Townsville which is definitely in the reckoning.
“Queensland has three stadia which meet the requirements in Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium), Townsville and on the Gold Coast (Cbus Super Stadium).”
Kearns said the criteria to be a potential host venue for World Cup matches went well beyond how new a stadium might be or the 25,000-seat capacity of a venue like Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
“Logistics like how close team hotels are to the ground on game days, the distance between hotels, gyms and pools for training, fan zone options and what accommodation there is for fans all weigh into suitability,” Kearns said.
Flinders Mall in the heart of Townsville will be buzzing pre-Test on Saturday before fans dressed in Wallaby gold, Kiwi black, Springbok green and the blue-and-white of Los Pumas walk to the stadium for the kick-off to the Test action from 5.05pm.
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The magnitude of what Townsville could be a part of in 2027 was explained by Kearns in terms of Suncorp Stadium hosting the first NRL grand final in Queensland on October 3.
“The Rugby World Cup would be worth the equivalent of 20 grand finals to Queensland in terms of the matches the state could host. That’s the economic impact we are talking of if Australia is successful with the bid,” Kearns said.
“There’s the prospect for 240,000 visitors coming into Australia from overseas during the tournament.
“Hosting in 2027 would be a transformational moment for the game in this country but also the Pacific with our legacy projects."
Head online to australia2027.rugby to learn more and back Australia’s bid.
Rugby fans in north Queensland have ticked one of the big boxes with their enthusiasm for the action with the Wallabies to meet Argentina (8.05pm) after the historic 100th Test between fierce rivals New Zealand and South Africa.