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How Biden’s victory could ruin our World Cup bid

Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the US Presidential election could have serious implications for Australia’s chances of winning the bid to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup.Australia is considered to be the early frontrunner to be awarded the tournament after getting the backing of the federal government but the influence that Rugby Australia…

Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the US Presidential election could have serious implications for Australia’s chances of winning the bid to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

Australia is considered to be the early frontrunner to be awarded the tournament after getting the backing of the federal government but the influence that Rugby Australia once had on the global game has all but eroded to zilch.

Australia’s poorly thought out bid to host the 2021 women’s Rugby World Cup was flatly rejected in 2018 and RA spectacularly backed the wrong horse by supporting Agustin Pichot in his failed attempt to topple Bill Beaumont as chairman of World Rugby, the sport’s governing board.

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With rugby’s powerbase now firmly entrenched in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s no secret that World Rugby desperately wants to take its biggest event into North America after the stunning success of last year’s tournament in Japan.

The game is already taking off in the U.S. with the newly created professional league MLR attracting big name players and coaches from all the globe and just last week, World Rugby’s chief executive officer – Australian Brett Gosper – openly urged USA Rugby to proceed with a bid, declaring it would be a “very strong contender”.

“There is no commercial market like the United States,” Gosper said.

And Biden could be the game changer that tips the balance in favour of the US.

While Trump prefers golf, Biden played fullback in rugby in the mid 1970s and follows the game as he is a distant relation of Irish international Rob Kearney, who recently signed to play for Western Force next year.

In 2016 when he was visiting New Zealand, the then U.S. Vice President met the All Blacks and was presented with a No.15 jersey and later that year, he posted a tweet congratulating Ireland when they beat the All Blacks for the first time in 111 years.

Biden is not the first US President to have played rugby – Bill Clinton played the game when he was a student at Oxford University and George W. Bush was a fullback for Yale University – but his support for a US bid could prove irresistible to World Rugby officials when they come to vote on the host.

Springboks on the way out?

Despite Sanzaar’s recent statement that the world champion Springboks are committed to playing in the Rugby Championship until 2030, the one rumour that just won’t go away is that it’s only a matter of time until the South Africans head to more lucrative pastures.

Even the official statements from SA Rugby have been murky but the whispers coming out of both Europe and Africa are that the Springboks will cut and run after their current contract expires in three more years – which just happens to be the same length of time as RA’s new cut price broadcast deal.

As much as the Springboks love talking up their deep admiration for playing against the All Blacks in particular, leaked reports from South Africa all say that the commercial benefits from switching to Europe far outweigh any sentimental attachment they have for the southern hemisphere rivals.

Decline of the Waratahs

There was no better example of how far the Waratahs have fallen down the pecking order of Sydney’s sporting teams than with the release of next season’s domestic competition schedule.

While the Reds, Brumbies, Rebels and Western Force are all booked in to play at their regular home grounds, the Waratahs still don’t know have a clue where they’ll be playing.

With Allianz Stadium still being rebuilt, the Waratahs have an agreement to play at the Sydney Cricket Ground but the SCG Trust hasn’t locked in any of their games yet because they’re giving priority to the NRL and AFL.

Rennie tip toes on red card

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has been treading a diplomatic line over the heavy handed four-match ban given to Lachie Swinton for his accidental high tackle on Sam Whitelock in last weekend’s Bledisloe Cup win over the All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium.

Rennie has backed the decision by referee Nic Berry to issue Swinton with a red card and the disciplinary panel for suspending the Australian hard man saying that were just following the rules, but he’s almost made it clear he thinks the rules need revisiting.

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“It‘s something I’d certainly be interested in looking deeper into,” he said.

“Sometimes people are getting red cards for contesting the ball in the air and someone falling awkwardly and so on; there are so many variables in our game I think it‘s worth sitting down and going through various parameters.”

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