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Japan 2019 left 'huge legacy', says World Rugby CEO

Edson Aigbe

Jun. 24, 2020

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Gosper believes the success of Japan 2019 will give World Rugby chiefs confidence that rugby-playing nations with a similar profile can host the tournament.
USA Rugby filed for bankruptcy earlier this year but Gosper said that did not rule the United States out of bidding for the 2027 or 2031 tournaments.
"I am sure that their time will come," he said. "The bankruptcy does make it slightly more complex but everything is more complex in the world now in both the short term and medium.
"We are looking at 2027 and 2031 (both bids will run at the same time).
"To put on a Rugby World Cup it requires financial effort beyond any one union.
"England and France have economic muscle from their governments and in the USA case it would be more private concerns.
"Hopefully they will be able to put in a bid for one of the two RWCs. It will be interesting and a great compliment to the sport that the US are interested in hosting a RWC."
The Chinese market remains elusive but Gosper hopes that success at Olympic level - their women's sevens team qualified for Tokyo 2020 -- could have a positive knock-on effect.
"China is still an ambition for rugby," he said.
"It is a complex market, very decentralised. However, it is a very strong Olympic country - the women's sevens team qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
"So it would not take a lot to ignite something very special in China from an Olympic point of view."
For Gosper, the pool match between Japan and Scotland in Yokohama - threatened by Typhoon Hagibis - stands out as a highlight from the 2019 tournament.
Japan won to qualify for the quarter-finals.
"To me it was really the high point of the tournament emotionally," he said.
"Fifty people stayed overnight at Yokohama Stadium to ensure it was up and ready for the next day after typhoons raged through.
"Were they risking their lives? Possibly.
"They were certainly taking risks to put themselves out to ensure the game was put on and the spectacle put on was the real high point."
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