While Canberra's local rugby clubs would be expected to celebrate the announcement that Australia's bid for the 2027 Rugby World Cup is likely to be won, the news has instead been overshadowed by the ACT government's refusal to budge on the costs of hosting.
World Rugby's decision will be made in May next year, but the territory government is opposed to stumping up the asking price required for a venue to be one of the 10 used in the tournament, meaning it's unlikely any games will come to Canberra.
Nela and Luke Whiteman both play for Easts juniors. Their dad Aiden Whitehall, an under-7s coach for the club, said hosting a World Cup in Australia would be hugely important for the game.
"Having international stars come into town, with all the media coverage and excitement, would just be a massive boost for local community rugby," Mr Whitehall said.
"There would much more interest with the kids.
"Any time we have a Brumbies player visit the club you get so much more motivation from the kids, so imagine what sort of influence seeing an international player in Canberra would do for them."
James Manders, Easts' acting president, highlighted the struggles rugby union is facing and how it needs more support.
"We struggle for numbers, we struggle for volunteers and we struggle for sponsorship, so having the World Cup is a game changer. It will put an international spotlight on Australia and Canberra," Mr Manders said.
"We don't get as much funding as the other sports in Australia, so it's a missed opportunity if we don't have the Rugby World Cup come locally."
Canberra Royals president Jim Taylor echoed the belief that having World Cup matches in the capital would create huge benefits for Canberra kids.
"The real advantage of hosting the World Cup in Canberra is being able to physically see it and have kids exposed to in-person matches," Mr Taylor said.
"It encapsulates them to stay committed.
"Rugby is a very nurturing sport. The club room has a pastoral nature and it's a supportive community, so having international players would encourage even more people to join our great sport."
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