Big guns to lead Australia’s 2027 Rugby World Cup ‘knockout bid’

SYDNEY (AFP) – Rugby Australia announced yesterday that it had recruited heavy hitters from business and politics, including former prime minister John Howard, to boost its bid for the 2027 World Cup.

Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan said he had formed a seven-person advisory board of prominent rugby supporters that aimed to deliver “a knockout bid” for the showpiece tournament.

“I am honoured that each of these incredibly successful individuals has agreed to get behind this important project,” said McLennan, who took over last month with the sport in disarray.

The 2027 World Cup is seen as a way to unite a sport struggling with financial difficulties, the Wallabies’ slide to seventh in the world rankings and bitter infighting.

The advisory board includes Howard, former governor-general Peter Cosgrove, Wallabies great John Eales and ex-British Airways boss Rod Eddington.

Other members are McLennan, Olivia Wirth from major Wallabies sponsor Qantas and mining executive Elizabeth Gaines.