John Howard brought in to save Australian Rugby
Rugby Australia has confirmed John Howard's appointment to a new advisory board to oversee the bid for Australia to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup.
Howard's inclusion in the new committee stacked with powerful business figures and Wallabies legends has emerged as one of the first moves made by new Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan.
The new RA chair has put together a mighty mix of influential rugby voices to bring the World Cup back to Australia for the first time since 2003.
Chaired by high-profile businessman Sir Rod Eddington, the advisory board includes Howard, ex-Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, World Cup-winning Wallabies captain John Eales, Fortescue Metals Group CEO Elizabeth Gaines, Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth and McLennan, who chairs several ASX-listed companies.
The Australian first reported McLennan spent the weeks leading up to his opening board meeting as chairman on Monday assembling the group to guide RA's bid to secure the world's third-largest sporting event for Australia.
If successful, it would have a major impact in the effort to turn around the code's waning fortunes in Australia.
"The 2027 Rugby World Cup is an incredible opportunity for rugby and for our country and we have signalled our intentions clearly by bringing together some of the greatest minds in rugby, politics, business, and the tourism sector to deliver a winning bid for Australia," McLenann said.
Eddington said the group was motivated by a goal that could reap rich rewards for the country as well as rugby.
"These are some of the finest leaders in their fields that Australia has ever produced, and now they are joining forces to help bring a tournament to our shores that will be transformational for the game and provide a huge economic windfall for the country," he said.
Howard was Prime Minister when Australia last hosted the Cup - and endured an emotional roller-coaster as Eddie Jones' team endured a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of England in the 2003 final.
Originally published as John Howard to save Australian Rugby