More than two decades after the Wallabies’ World Cup heartbreak in Sydney, Australia will host not one but two World Cup tournaments.
On Thursday night, Rugby Australia were finally awarded the World Cup six months after they were confirmed as the “preferred candidates” by World Rugby.
It sets up a golden decade, with a World Cup in France, followed by a Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, men’s (2027) and women’s (2029) World Cups and an Olympics in Brisbane to bookend it all in 2032.
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The 2027 men’s World Cup is expected to be played across seven cities, with Sydney to find challengers in Melbourne and Perth – the only two cities with venues that can hold more than 60,000 – for the right to host the final.
But who are some of the men likely to headline the Wallabies?
We get out the crystal ball to predict five names, with some unexpected selections too.
The 21-year-old is already a mainstay for the Wallabies, having made his Test debut in 2020.
But for someone so young, he is mature beyond his years.
Bell is strong at the scrum, a powerful ball-runner and has a steely desire to win.
Australia’s Junior Wallabies captain at the 2019 under-20s World Cup, McReight can play.
Were it not for Michael Hooper, McReight would have played more than the two Tests he’s played off the bench to date.
Quick, strong on the ball, a natural fetcher, and a brilliant link player, McReight is developing all the time and will be 28 by the time the World Cup rolls around.
Hotly pursued by a number of NRL clubs, Pollard is only 20 and is already turning heads.
He is super quick and explosive for a hooker.
Could he be Australia’s long awaited answer at hooker and go on to become the next Phil Kearns?
The son of former Wallabies captain and World Cup winner Michael, Tom comes with some pedigree.
But the recently turned 19-year-old can play.
So much so that former Wallabies captain Andrew Slack believes his 40-minute cameo for the Queensland Reds in the pre-season was the best half of rugby by an Australia playmaker this year.
His father, Michael, admits Tom is “very skilful” but like any parent hopes the Reds recruit isn’t rushed.
Tom returned to club rugby last weekend after a hamstring injury.
He might be in his second season with the Roosters, but before the NRL snatched the Kings product Suaalii was lighting it up in schoolboy rugby.
In the end, financial security probably tipped the scales in rugby league’s favour but Suaalii was genuinely interested in rugby.
World Cups are often won and lost on the key positions at 2, 7, 9, 10, 12 and 15.
Suaalii could be a Test fullback – a position the Wallabies have struggled to fill since Israel Folau’s controversial departure from the game.