The official Waltzing Matilda singalong that has become a tradition at Australian rugby union tests is unlikely to get a hearing at the Rugby World Cup.

The International Rugby Board has ruled that only a country's national anthem can be sung before games at the October-November tournament.

Exceptions are made for performances deemed of cultural significance, such as the All Blacks' haka.

However there are doubts by the IRB over whether Waltzing Matilda, which in recent years has been sung by John Williamson just preceding kick-off at home tests, has the same significance.

The Australian Rugby Union has made a formal request to the IRB

for the song to be performed and is awaiting a decision at a meeting on Monday.

IRB spokesman Chris Rea was quoted in The Daily Telegraph saying it was unlikely to be approved.

"I don't think the same concession should apply to this," Rea told the newspaper.

"It's a song the crowd likes to sing along to, but it's just not the same."