Australian bid for Women’s Rugby World Cup
AN against-the-grain plan to play the entire women's Rugby World Cup in the one city is the driver for Rugby Australia to earn hosting rights for the 2021 tournament.
Rugby Australia's bid will centre around the Newcastle and Hunter region and create a festival atmosphere with teams staying in an 'athlete village' environment and the finals culminating at McDonald Jones Stadium. Pool matches would be played between Newcastle Sportsground 2 and Maitland Sportsground.
The NSW Government have thrown their backing behind the bid and if successful, it's expected to inject $23 million into the economy.
More sport is being drawn to the Newcastle area. Last year the Matildas hosted Brazil there in front of nearly 17,000 fans and next month the Diamonds will face England for the first time in since their shock loss of the netball Commonwealth Games gold medal at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre.
Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Nuatali Nelmes, said she was confident the people of Newcastle would turn out for the World Cup too.
"Novocastrians love their rugby with huge crowds turning out to support the Wallabies' during their weeklong training camp in Newcastle last year," she said.
"Hosting the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup would be one of the biggest ever sporting events for our city, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from both interstate as well as around the world.
"The City of Newcastle was proud to host the Matildas for a friendly against Brazil in 2017 and our community responded by setting an Australian record for an international women's soccer game.
"I'm confident that Newcastle would smash records as the host of the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup too."
Six nations are in the running to host the tournament with Australia up against New Zealand, England, France, Portugal and Wales. The winning nation is expected to be announced in November.
If Australia or New Zealand win it would be the first time a southern hemisphere nation has hosted.
The success of rugby sevens in the Olympics has seen growth in female participation and the advent of an elite level female competition for XVs in the Super W marked a commitment to the traditional format of the game in Australia too.
Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said the growth of the game along with Australia's historical success in hosting major sports events would make them a logical choice to host.
"The Women's Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle event in women's XVs Rugby and we will show the world once again that Australia is unrivalled when it comes to delivering major sporting events," Castle said.
"We have more women and girls playing rugby than ever before and we continue to see double-digit growth in participation in both our Sevens and XVs formats of the game. Hosting the tournament would provide us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to showcase the best of the women's game to the Australian public.
"Our bid demonstrates that Australia has the ability to tap into a rich history of major event expertise, a strong women's sports movement, corporate support, volunteers and engaged sports fans in Australia that will deliver a record breaking tournament."