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Russia pushes forward with Putin-supported bid to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup

Australia are the current favourites to host the tournament.

THE RUSSIAN RUGBY Union has confirmed that it is pressing ahead with its bid to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

The Russian union has established a six-person committee to prepare its application to host rugby’s flagship tournament.

Australia are the current favourites to host the 2027 World Cup but Russia will hope its bid – which is set to include several of the 2018 FIFA World Cup stadiums – proves tempting.

andrew-conway-scores-their-fourth-try-of-the-game Andrew Conway scores against Russia at last year's World Cup. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

A statement from the Russian Rugby Union says that World Rugby will accept formal bids in February 2021, with a final decision on the host nation set to be made in May 2022.

Argentina had outlined its intention to bid for the 2027 hosting rights but withdrew in April of this year as the Unión Argentina de Rugby confirmed it would support Australia’s bid instead.

There have been rumours surrounding 2027 hosting bids from the US and South Africa, although neither of their rugby unions has officially announced a bid.

France will host the next Rugby World Cup in 2023.

Russia Rugby Union chairman Igor Artemyev said his union’s 2027 bid “was supported by the President of Russia,” Vladimir Putin.

Russia hosted football’s FIFA World Cup in 2018 after beating bids from Spain/Portugal, Belgium/Netherlands, and England in a vote.

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Russia’s selection as hosts of the competition drew criticism but FIFA pressed ahead, and stadiums in the cities of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Sochi, Yekaterinburg, Volgograd, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, and Samara held games.

rugby-world-cup-2019-samoa-349-russia Russia won supporters with their spirited play at last year's World Cup. Source: Rodrigo Reyes Marin

While the Russian Rugby Union has not yet officially revealed any details of its bid for the 2027 Rugby World Cup, it is expected that several of the stadiums used in 2018 will be part of the application.

The 2020 Russian Rugby Championship was one of the first rugby competitions in the world to launch following the Covid-19 crisis, with the 10-club league getting underway on 18 June. Enisey-STM, who have won seven of the last nine titles, lead the championship after five rounds.

The Russian men’s national team currently sit 20th in World Rugby’s official rankings.

They qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2011 and then featured at last year’s tournament in Japan due to other possible European qualifiers being docked points for fielding ineligible players.

Russia lost their four pool games, including a 35-0 defeat to Joe Schmidt’s Ireland.

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Murray Kinsella

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