The new chairman of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has confirmed England will bid for the rights to host the 2031 Rugby World Cup, which falls just 16 years after they last held the competition.
Tom Ilube was elected as the first black chair of a major sports governing body earlier this year and began work in August as he hopes to lift England back to the top of the rugby pyramid.
A successful campaign to bring the Rugby World Cup back could lend a big hand in that effort after the RFU generated more than £228million in revenue hosting the 2015 tournament.
France will welcome the competition to their shores in 2023, while the race to stage the Rugby World Cup in 2027 appears to be between Russia, the United States and 2003 hosts Australia.
Ilube — who was briefly held hostage in Idi Amin’s Uganda as a child — has set his sights high after starting his RFU role and confirmed his intent to see England host again: "We would like to bid for the 2031 World Cup.
"It would be really exciting to have it here and you could imagine what it would be like. That really gives us a focus as well. We will see what happens, it will be interesting.
"It's not happening yet, but it's something that we're really interested in discussing and engaging with the process.”
England were one of five hosts that shared the 1991 Rugby World Cup, offering up venues alongside France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The 2015 competition was England’s first time hosting independently, although Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium — now the Principality Stadium — was also used for matches.
The Red Rose finished as runners-up in Japan two years ago when they suffered a convincing 32-12 defeat to eventual champions South Africa.
However, that was an overwhelming improvement on their dreaded experience as hosts in 2015 when they failed make it beyond the pool stage for the first time in their history.
Two defeats to Wales and Australia—not to mention one failed Sam Burgess experiment—were enough to seal the home side’s fate as their World Cup dream ended agonisingly early.
Many fans will consider that nightmarish campaign as all the more reason to make another run at hosting, with World Rugby due to vote in May on who will stage the 2027 and 2031 contests.
Speculation regarding hosts for a tournament that’s still a decade away has come amid reports World Rugby is considering the possibility of holding the World Cup every two years.
Do you think England will win a Rugby World Cup in the next 10 years? Let us know in the comments section.
Ilube elaborated on his vision to see England consistently rank as one of the top nations in the rugby world, stressing a focus on youth development today to produce the stars of tomorrow.
"I'm not certain that our system at the moment continuously generates those absolutely world-class players and if we are going to be at our rightful place, England should consistently be ranked one and two in the world,” he continued.
"Year after year after year we should be there and to do that we need that cohort of absolutely world-class players. The system needs to generate them.”
Eddie Jones ’ side are currently ranked third in the world behind World Cup titleholders South Africa and New Zealand, who are rarely outside the top two themselves.
Ilube’s first job will be to help England through their upcoming autumn internationals before the team turns its attention to the Six Nations in February.
It shouldn’t take a lot for the team to improve in that regard after finishing fifth in this year’s Six Nations, their worst result since 1987 when Italy were yet to join the competition.
France will set a new record for the shortest wait between home World Cups when they host in 2023, 16 years after they finished fourth on home soil in their first venture staging the contest.
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