Warren Gatland has been linked with the head coach role for the USA, following the country’s selection as hosts for the 2031 Rugby World Cup.
Rugby’s showpiece tournament will be held in the United States in nine years’ time, although the nation has only won three of the 25 games they have played across eight World Cups.
The USA are also yet to qualify for next year’s World Cup in France, as they will play Chile in a two-legged qualifier in July, with a further final qualification tournament to follow if they are unsuccessful against the South Americans.
According to the Daily Mail, Gatland is in the running to take over as the USA’s head coach after the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Warren Gatland could take charge of the Eagles.
The New Zealander has no shortage of international experience, having acted as the head coach of Ireland, Wales and the British and Irish Lions during his career.
Gatland is currently the director of rugby for New Zealand Super Rugby Pacific side the Chiefs, although his contract with the club does run out in 2023.
South African coach Gary Gold is currently in charge of the USA, although he is likely to leave the position following next year’s World Cup, if the Eagles qualify for the tournament.
🤔 What’s better than a party in the USA?
🎉 Two parties in the USA
🏆 #RWC2031 and #RWC2033 are heading to the new kids on the scene@USARugby | #RWCAnnouncement pic.twitter.com/xa5h276I3A
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) May 12, 2022
World Rugby will be hoping the United States can emulate Japan’s success.
2031 won’t be the first Rugby World Cup hosted by one of the sport’s non-traditional powers, with Japan hosting the most recent tournament in 2019.
Just eight years out from the 2019 World Cup, Japan had tasted victory in just one of their 24 matches at the tournament, although their results quickly improved as they claimed a famous win against South Africa in 2015, before reaching the quarter-finals in 2019.
The sport’s administrators will be hoping for a similar upturn in fortunes for the USA, as they will want the host nation for the 2031 World Cup to at least have a realistic chance of reaching the knock-out stages.
Although the USA’s results in recent years are nothing to get excited about, the creation of the professional Major League Rugby in 2018 should create more depth and better pathways to international rugby for American players.
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