Two-time Rugby World Cup winner Phil Kearns will head Australia’s 2027 tournament bid. Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan announced Kearns had been appointed executive director, seeming to rule the former hooker out of the running as the new chief executive.
Kearns, who played 67 Tests for Australia, will lead a heavyweight team that includes former prime minister John Howard, former governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove and International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates.
His role will include engaging with government at all levels as well as international stakeholders including World Rugby member unions. Following a storied playing career, Kearns held previous posts as chief executive of Centric Wealth as well as managing director at InterRISK Australia.
“Phil will be front and centre of Rugby World Cup bid team and will lead our international relations to put Rugby Australia in the strongest possible position to win the right to host the 2027 showpiece,” McLennan said. “Phil has an impeccable international reputation both in the corporate sector and with his network of contacts throughout the rugby world.”
Kearns said he was excited about the appointment, with the World Cup crucial to RA’s financial health.
“I know what it takes to win a World Cup on the field in Wallaby Gold and now I’m enormously excited to put in the work to win the right to host a World Cup here in Australia,” he said. “The World Cup in 2027 would be transformational for the game in this country.
“The financial windfall it would bring would spark the Australian economy as we rebuild from the impact of Covid-19 and then gives us the opportunity to invest back into the grassroots of the game.”