Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed a surprise bid from Russia to rival Australia's pitch to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup.
The Russian Rugby Federation has confirmed the country will bid to stage the global tournament, with Australia the current favourites to earn host status for the first time since 2003.
World Rugby's official host bidding process will open in February 2021, with the 2027 host decision expected in May 2022.
France held off competition from Ireland and South Africa to stage the 2023 tournament, with Japan having enjoyed a record-breaking competition in 2019.
Russia finished bottom of Pool A at Japan 2019.
[Source: TVNZ / Associated Press]
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