January 29 – This Day in Rugby

Australia & New Zealand Named RWC Host

After a successful co-hosting at the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, the IRB announced on this day in rugby history in 1998 that Australia and New Zealand would share that responsibility again in 2003.

But the co-hosting did not work out with a dispute between the International Rugby Board and the NZRU in 2002, over sponsorship, advertising and ticketing seeing all the games moved to Australia.

“[The dispute] is seriously damaging for us all,” a World Cup source said.

Australia went on to host the 2003 Rugby World Cup and it was a huge success, with some pundits saying it was an even bigger success than if it was co-hosted as originally voted by the IRB.

England became the first team from the northern hemisphere to win.

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