John Howard, John Eales included on Rugby World Cup bid Board

Former Prime Minister John Howard, Wallabies great John Eales and leading Australian businessman Sir Rod Eddington are all part of an Advisory Board set up to oversee Rugby Australia's 2027 Rugby World Cup bid.

New Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan unveiled the Board on Tuesday morning, McLennan wasting little time in attempting to change the negative narrative that has engulfed the game for much of 2020.

Hosting the World Cup in 2027 would present a huge financial opportunity for Rugby Australia. The country is currently the tournament's only bidder after Argentina withdrew their intention to bid earlier this year.

As well as Howard, Eales, Eddington and McLennan, the Advisory Board also includes former Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Fortescue Metals Group Chief Executive Elizabeth Gaines and Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.

"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," McLennan said.

"As I announced after I first agreed to become Chairman of the Board, the 2027 Rugby World Cup bid was one of my top priorities and today we have taken a giant step towards laying the foundations for a successful bid.

"I'm delighted that Sir Rod Eddington has agreed to Chair this very important Advisory Board on behalf of our 2027 Rugby World Cup bid team. I have known Rod for 25 years and he is one of Australia's leading businessmen and a doyen of the tourism industry, who will lead this group of prominent Australians superbly.

"I am honoured that each of these incredibly successful individuals has agreed to get behind this important project."

The inclusion of Fortescue Metals chief executive Elizabeth Gaines appears to be another step in smoothing over the relationship with the company's chairman, Andrew Forrest, who owns the Western Force.

The Force were earlier this month included in the new Super Rugby AU competition, which kicks off next on July 3, the team re-joining their former Super Rugby colleagues after being booted out after the 2017 season.

McLennan had already broken bread with Forrest last month and while the billionaire businessman made no long-term commitment to Rugby Australia, the inclusion of Gaines on the World Cup Advisory Board will certainly please those connected with rugby in Western Australia.

Australia last hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2003 when the Wallabies lost to England in a dramatic final that went to extra-time.