Dan McKellar says a push to lure Rugby World Cup games to Canberra is "a no-brainer" as the ACT government is urged to consider the legacy the tournament could leave for the city.
Canberra is in danger of being priced out of the market for Rugby Australia's 2027 World Cup bid after the ACT fell well below the asking price.
ACT Brumbies coach and Wallabies forwards mentor McKellar says the event's global reach could have a major impact in a city that is home to a core rugby market and one of Australia's five Super Rugby Pacific teams.
The ACT government is set to delay its return to the bidding war for marquee sporting events until the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic subside and international travel increases.
But the decision could come at a major cost amid concern the ACT could quickly fall behind interstate counterparts who are desperate to secure elite sporting content at modern stadiums.
"It's just the event, isn't it? You've got the Olympics, you've got the soccer World Cup, and then you've got the Rugby World Cup," McKellar said.
"It's an enormous event with so many eyeballs on it. What it does for local business, not just the game of rugby, but what it does for local businesses in hospitality, retail, I'd imagine it's something you would want to be a part of.
"It was here in 2003 and from anyone you talk to that was around Canberra at the time speaks highly about the occasion. Having the Welsh team based here and other teams, they're memories that last forever.
"For me, it's a no-brainer."
The ACT government and Rugby Australia officials say discussions are ongoing with the latter keen to have a national footprint for the 2027 World Cup should Australia win hosting rights.
Sydney's Stadium Australia, Perth Stadium and the Melbourne Cricket Ground have emerged as the contenders to host the final, with World Rugby guidelines dictating the host venue's capacity must exceed 60,000.
Canberra Stadium would be more likely to host pool matches between lower-ranked nations throughout the 48-game tournament, given the costs associated with luring tier one nations like Australia or New Zealand to a venue.
The ACT government has little interest in paying for games between lower-ranked teams, but that decision is a double-edged sword. It catapults them into bidding wars with other states for major content.
Canberra's political powerbrokers will need to stave off interest from rival host cities to secure matches, with eight to 10 venues to be used. Canberra hosted four matches in the 2003 World Cup, which used 11 venues.
Rugby Australia is confident host cities will earn a return on their investment in what bid leader Phil Kearns labels "a once-in-a-generation opportunity".
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