How many countries have hosted the Rugby World Cup?

Hosting the Rugby World Cup is a massive responsibility that requires years of planning and millions of pounds of investment. This can often put countries off hosting the tournament. So how many countries have hosted Rugby’s biggest competition.

How many countries have hosted the Rugby World Cup? In total, nine different countries have hosted at least one Rugby World Cup game. Seven of those countries have hosted the tournament exclusively.

Rugby is not quite as international of a sport as something like football. This means that viewer teams compete in the Rugby World Cup and fewer countries have the infrastructure to host the tournament. This is why there have only ever been nine different countries who have hosted the competition.

List of Rugby World Cup Hosts

Rugby World Cup YearRugby World Cup hostsWinners
1987Australia & New ZealandNew Zealand
1991European NationsAustralia
1995South AfricaSouth Africa
1999European NationsAustralia
2007France, Wales and ScotlandSouth Africa
2011New ZealandNew Zealand
2015England and WalesNew Zealand
2019JapanSouth Africa

Those nine countries are New Zealand, Australia, England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, South Africa and Japan. Of those nine countries, Scotland and Ireland are the two that have not hosted the entire competition on their own. Scotland and Ireland hosted the tournament alongside England, France and Wales in 1991.

In the future, the United States of America is going to be the next country to add their name to the list of countries to host the Rugby World Cup. They are set to host the 2031 tournament, becoming the 10th different country to host the Rugby World Cup. They will also be the eighth country to host a tournament on their own.

Rugby World Cup host 2027

Australia is going to be the host of the 2027 Rugby World Cup. The tournament is planned to be hosted across 12 different venues all across the country. The tournament will go to major cities like Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane. This will be the third time Australia have hosted the Rugby World Cup and the first time since 2003.

There was quite a lot of competition for who would host the 2027 Rugby World Cup. Considering the three competitions prior to 2027 have been hosted in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere were favourites for 2027.

Australia put in a bid to host the tournament in 2017, although there was some fear that they would have to compete against South Africa. Thankfully for Australian Rugby, South Africa did not submit a bid. Argentina were the other major country to put in a bid to host the tournament.

However, four years after submitting the bid they decided to withdraw, making Australia the clear favourite to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup. In 2022 it was confirmed that Australia would host the 2027 Rugby World Cup which will take place in September and October of 2027.

Rugby World Cup host 2031

The USA will be the hosts of the 2031 Rugby World Cup, with World Rugby announcing this decision in May of 2022. This is a historic decision as there has never been a Rugby World Cup hosted in North or South America, with World Rugby hoping to take advantage of the growing popularity of the sport in the USA.

Rugby is also hoping that by growing the sport in the USA, new investment can be brought in to help the sorry state of the game financially. Prior to the USA being awarded the right to host the tournament, England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland were considering a joint bid for the tournament.

Thankfully for the USA, there was never another bid formally submitted for the tournament and so World Rugby began discussions with USA Rugby to try to organise the 2031 Rugby World Cup to be held in the USA.

There is still a lot of logistics that need to be sorted out before the tournament starts. For example, the plans are for the Rugby World Cup to use NFL stadiums throughout the USA for games. However, the Rugby World Cup usually takes place in September and October which is in the middle of the NFL regular season.

So there has been some discussion about moving the World Cup to the summer months to avoid the clash. As the tournament is still eight years away, the host cities have not been announced. However, there is a shortlist of 24 cities which features places like New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC.

Rugby World Cup hosts 2035

At the moment there has not yet been a decision made about who is going to host the 2035 Rugby World Cup. It is likely that the decision on this will still be at least a couple of years away. However, there are some countries who have already announced their interest in hosting the tournament.

Japan is one of the key contenders to host the Rugby World Cup in 2035. Considering the success of the 2019 tournament, the Japanese Rugby Football Union chairman Kensuke Iwabuchi has already informed World Rugby that his country wants to host the Rugby World Cup.

Considering the infrastructure already in place as well as the popularity of rugby in Japan at the moment, there is a good chance that Japan could host the Rugby World Cup again. However, they are having to compete with England who have confirmed their interest in hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2035.

England has a lot of experience in hosting the Rugby World cup, having previously hosted matches at the tournament in 1991, 1999 and most recently in 2015. In 2015 they were the primary host and many saw that at a successful tournament in terms of England hosting. England has a variety of large rugby and football stadiums which could be used in the competition.

There is one other country which has officially announced their interest in the tournament. Italy have never hosted a Rugby World Cup game before despite playing in the Six Nations for more than 20 years now. They are planning to launch bids to try to host the Euros in 2032 and then the Rugby World Cup three years later.

Part of that plan is also to launch a bid to host the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2037. We will have to wait a few years to find out who is going to host the tournament.

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