Classic Wallabies Simon Poidevin and Morgan Turinui are confident a successful bid to host Rugby World Cup 2027 can help the sport attract the next generation of athletes.
The organisation of ex-Wallabies released a statement throwing their support behind the bid last week, believing it would be a 'gamechanger' for grassroots rugby in Australia and across the Pacific.
Speaking to Rugby.com.au, Classic Wallabies president Simon Poidevin is confident a successful bid would be a major point of difference and a perfect opportunity to showcase Rugby and Australia to the rest of the world.
“You talk about the class of ’27, there’s the ’28 Olympics or the class of ’32 Olympics that could be in Brisbane, these kids are in school,” he suggests.
“There’s a core group of the Wallabies that will be there in 2027 but a lot of kids will still be at school. Dave Rennie has the skeleton to prepare for the Test this year, The Rugby Championship, the lead into France in 2023 but also the Lions in ’25 and having players who are the finished product for 2027.
“It’s another string to the bow. We’ve seen it with the Olympics where that’s a big carrot and a World Cup is huge. That’s the internationality of our game. It’s not just about hosting a World Cup, yeah that’s huge but World Cups in general are massive.
“If you’re sitting there trying to talk to a kid about staying in rugby union, if you can say you can play for the Wallabies and everyone comes onto our shores to try and take a World Cup, that’s a pretty special moment in time.”
His views are shared by Turinui, Classic Wallabies General Manager, who was adamant the event is a major incentive to keep players connected to the sport.
“It gives athletes in Australia, whether it’s a men or women’s World Cup, gives that talent the chance to say ‘I want to play rugby, I want to play in a World Cup, I don’t want to play league or AFL,” he believes.
“There’s lots of choice here. Other nations don’t have the dilemma we have. New Zealand certainly doesn’t have it, South Africa has obviously soccer and rugby but you don’t have AFL or rugby league so creating that vision for young talents to do what Tim Horan did in 1991 and 1999.
“(International Rugby) is our big point of difference playing in Australia … It just gives us a new dimension to showcase our sport.”
The Classic Wallabies have been crucial towards building support for the game across the country, with the prospect of a once-in-a-generation opportunity helping to accelerate their influence.
“To land something that would be truly national, you always compare it to the Olympics but an Olympics is around a city whilst a World Cup is around the country itself so it’ll be great for that for the awareness and how many different parts of the country will open up to rugby," Turinui said.
“You look at 2003 (World Cup) as an example, that was huge for the game in all parts. We had a game in Tasmania, a Wallabies pre-World Cup camp in Darwin. It opens up the country which is where the Classic Wallabies go.
“There’s just this groundswell of support that builds right through a tournament. It just gives momentum to the sport and it takes centre stage in front of all other sports which is rare in the sporting market."
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Poidevin is well-aware of the power of a World Cup, having played in the first event in Australia in 1987 as well as winning it in 1991.
He suggests hosting it once again in Australia will be crucial in developing a greater understanding of the game and the event on its 40th-year anniversary.
“It’s very important for us to see Australia continuing to hold its place in World Rugby as a leading nation. This is an opportunity again to show those credentials,” Poidevan added.
“...I was also part of the World Cup squad that won in 1991, the first time for Australia and was on the ’99 and ’03 as a commentator and certainly, Australia was an incredible World Cup which made everyone proud and bought a huge amount of the population into understanding the power of Rugby."