Rugby Real or Not: MCG should host the 2027 World Cup final

Has the tide shifted in Super Rugby Pacific? After just one weekend of multiple Australian trans-Tasman victories, it might be a tad too early to suggest that!

But there is no doubt the Brumbies' back-to-back wins over New Zealand opposition, and the Waratahs' stunning upset of the Crusaders, will have boosted the collective confidence of the Australian cohort.

There are, of course, bigger tests to come when the Aussie teams head east and travel to New Zealand, which begins on Friday.

Read on as we look at some of the big talking points in the game Down Under in the latest edition of Rugby Real or Not.

The 2027 Rugby World Cup final should be played in Australia's sporting capital: Melbourne

Not Real. Surely we can't be serious? This would be a terrible decision! But if reports that World Rugby officials were wooed by Melbourne's "sporting precinct" are on the money, then there is every chance the game's showpiece match could be headed to the MCG.

But I just can't get my head around the game being played at a circular venue. The point was made that World Rugby isn't insistent on having a rectangular stadium, but the difference between the MCG and Yokohama Stadium, where the 2019 final was played, is that there was only an athletics track between the playing field and the stands; it is also more of an oval design rather than a true round "cauldron" the MCG is. And we need look no further than the turnout for "Super Round" at AAMI Park 10 days ago; did that really look like the attendance of a city fascinated by rugby? Give me a spell.

The Rugby World Cup final should be played in Sydney, where the game's heartland audience has always resided and is recently reinvigorated by the improving Waratahs. I can see why the MCG's location would be attractive to World Rugby, and Melbourne no doubt has its famous cultural charms, but international fans will want a taste of the sun and surf in the lead-up to kick-off [surely, the big Sydney wet will have finished by then!]. Sydney Harbour will be beaming by the time the final rolls around in early November, and it is the perfect backdrop for lead-up events through the week.

And it's worth remembering that Twickenham is hardly central London, either. Jumping on the train from Waterloo is half the fun! So to Sydney's Accor Stadium the tournament decider must come -- but let's get the official bid announcement out of the way first! And it will certainly help if we can get that roof on, too!

Saturday's Chiefs-Brumbies will be better guide of exactly where Australia's Super franchises are at against Kiwi opposition

Real. The feeling is understandably optimistic in Australian rugby after the Brumbies and Waratahs defeated the Hurricanes and Crusaders, respectively, and the Rebels held off a determined Moana Pasifika. The Reds and Force also had their chances against the Chiefs and Blues, with Tim Sampson's side unable to capitalise on 26 straight phases on their opponents' line as the clock wound past fulltime.

But it's hardly cause to get carried away, either. Certainly the Brumbies are the best of the Australian bunch and the way they settled after halftime against the Hurricanes, effectively squeezing the visitors out of the contest with their dominant driving maul, was superb.

But it all changes this weekend when they, and the Waratahs and Rebels, head across the ditch to play on New Zealand. Beat the Chiefs in Hamilton, just as they did before the COVID shutdown of Super Rugby in 2020, then not only will the Brumbies have really entrenched themselves in the top four, but they will have also shown their style can hold up under pressure away from home.

The Waratahs, meanwhile, must simply back up their win over the Crusaders by defeating Moana Pasifika in Auckland. With the Hurricanes and Blues to come at Leichhardt Oval, the scene of their famous victory over the red-and-blacks, the draw has been kind to them getting Moana and the struggling Highlanders on the road. Too often in the past, the Waratahs have followed up rousing victories with sub-par performances -- that cannot occur on Saturday.