— Published 4 August 2023

The World Cup heads for the southern hemisphere

It was expected: the next Rugby World Cup, initially scheduled for France in 2025, will be held in the southern hemisphere, probably in Australia and/or New Zealand. Surprisingly, however, it has been postponed by one year. The International Rowing Federation (IRL) made the announcement on Thursday August 3, following a meeting of its board of directors in Singapore. The one-year postponement is accompanied by a new, tighter format for the next edition than in the initial version. Three competitions will be held at the same time, as planned by the governing body: a men’s tournament, a women’s tournament and a wheelchair rugby competition. But the men’s World Cup will feature just ten teams. The eight quarter-finalists from the 2022 edition, played in England, are automatically qualified. For the women’s and armchair tournaments, open to eight teams, the last four semi-finalists are guaranteed a place in 2026. Another decision: the next edition of the men’s World Cup will take place in 2030, in order to maintain a four-year cycle. The women’s version, on the other hand, will be detached from the men’s competition to become autonomous. After 2026, it will be held in 2028. One unknown remains: the venue. This will be announced by the end of the year. Barring an improbable turn of events, New Zealand and Australia are expected to share the games, as the two countries are in talks to co-host the tournaments. As a reminder, the next World Cup was due to be held in France in 2025, but the organizers were forced to abandon the idea, as they were unable to secure the budget.