2011 Rugby World Cup
|Host nation||New Zealand|
|Dates||9 September – 23 October|
|No. of nations||20 (91 qualifying)|
The event is expected to cost about NZ$310 million to run and will generate NZ$280 million in ticket sales. It will be the largest sporting event ever held in New Zealand, eclipsing the 1987 Rugby World Cup, 1990 Commonwealth Games, 1992 Cricket World Cup, 2003 America's Cup and 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. Around 70,000 visitors from overseas are expected to travel to New Zealand for the associated games and events.
The event is scheduled to be played over seven weekends from the weekend starting 10 September and culminating the weekend starting 22 October 2011. The weekend of the final was chosen so it falls on a long weekend caused by the New Zealand public holiday of Labour Day (Monday, 24 October 2011). The final is scheduled to be played in Auckland at Eden Park.
As of 19 February 2008, New Zealand's progress in preparing and implementing plans for the event received an A+ rating from the International Rugby Board's chairman and chief executive.
After months of speculation that the number of participating teams would be reduced to 16, the IRB announced on Friday, 30 November 2007 that the 2011 tournament would again feature 20 teams. Twelve teams qualified as a result of finishing in the top three in each pool in the 2007 tournament. The remaining eight berths will be determined by regional qualifying tournaments.
Bids-New Zealand co-hosted the first Rugby World Cup with Australia in 1987. However, its lack of accommodation and sporting stadiums were speculated as impediments to future chances. Originally set to co-host the 2003 tournament with Australia, a disagreement over ground signage rights saw the New Zealand games dropped and Australia became the sole host. Prior to the 2005 Lions tour to New Zealand, critics doubted that New Zealand had the infrastructure to host an event of this size. The New Zealand bid contained plans to enlarge the size of Eden Park to help increase the commercial viability of the bid.
Of the three candidates, Japan was widely expected to win hosting rights. It was believed to be the desire of the IRB to move the tournament from the traditional rugby nations such as New Zealand and South Africa. If it were to have been held in Japan it would be the first time a Rugby World Cup had taken place in Asia. With stadiums from the 2002 FIFA World Cup, it had the necessary infrastructure already in place. Japan would eventually succeed in its aim to host a World Cup in 2009, when it was awarded the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The South African bid, led by former national captain Francois Pienaar, had strong support from their government. It successfully hosted the tournament in 1995. There was belief throughout the rugby union community that the organisation of the Rugby World Cup would be overshadowed by the organisation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The New Zealand bid was led by the New Zealand Rugby Union (at the time of bidding known as the New Zealand Rugby Football Union) and supported by the New Zealand Government, through the Prime Minister and current players, represented by the All Black captain. After winning the bid, the NZRFU expressed extreme disappointment towards their Australian counterparts who voted against New Zealand hosting the event, due to the NZRFU's misplaced expectation that the "ANZAC spirit" would result in a vote for New Zealand. After South Africa was voted out of the running for the hosting rights, their rugby union stated that they voted for New Zealand, as they remembered the anti-apartheid sentiment that average New Zealanders had demonstrated during the 1981 South African tour.
After an IRB inspection of each applicant host nation during June and July 2005, the winning bid of New Zealand was announced during the IRB Council meeting in Dublin on 17 November 2005.
Concerns-Some concerns over New Zealand's readiness for the Rugby World Cup have been raised. The process of upgrading Eden Park to expand the capacity to the 60,000+ figure required by the IRB was characterised in late 2008 by the Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully as needing legislative abolishment of the consent process to be completed on time. A July 2009 report by the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, released under the Official Information Act, warned of lack of readiness and complacency, despite the fact that "the levels of patron movement and operational standard [needed for the RWC] are in reality significantly above what is currently delivered." The report was dismissed by Michael Barnett, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO and planning co-coordinator for RWC events in Auckland, who characterised it as a case of "a Wellington media organisation us[ing] an outdated report". The nation's largest hospitality workers' union, Unite, which represents 25% of hotel, restaurant and casino workers in New Zealand, has floated the idea of a strike during the RWC "to get some of that wealth and share it around a bit."
The construction of Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium has also been a source of concern as the project is operating within a tight time frame. An April 2010 progress report stated that the project remained on target for completion prior to the Rugby World Cup, however there is a medium level of risk with some significant and potentially damaging concerns. If the project is not completed on time, organisers will revert to the backup option of Carisbrook Stadium.
Qualification-Twenty teams will compete in the 2011 World Cup. Nineteen places have so far been allocated. The following twelve teams qualified for the 2011 World Cup by finishing in the top 3 of their group in the 2007 Rugby World Cup:
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United States
Venues-The 13 venues for the 2011 Rugby World Cup were confirmed on 12 March 2009.
A number of the venues announced are undergoing redevelopment to increase capacity for the event. Dunedin is currently building a new stadium named Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza, due for completion in August 2011. If completed on schedule, it will be used instead of Carisbrook.
|Eden Park||AMI Stadium||Westpac Stadium||Rotorua International Stadium||Forsyth Barr Stadium3||Waikato Stadium|
|Capacity: 60,000||Capacity: 38,628||Capacity: 36,000||Capacity: 34,000||Capacity: 30,500||Capacity: 25,800|
|World Cup Matches: 9||World Cup Matches: 7||World Cup Matches: 7||World Cup Matches: 3||World Cup Matches: 3||World Cup Matches: 3|
|Auckland||Whangarei||New Plymouth||Napier||Nelson||Palmerston North||Invercargill|
|North Harbour Stadium||Okara Park||Yarrow Stadium||McLean Park||Trafalgar Park||Arena Manawatu||Rugby Park Stadium|
|Capacity: 25,000||Capacity: 25,000||Capacity: 25,000||Capacity: 22,000||Capacity: 20,080||Capacity: 18,000||Capacity: 17,000|
|World Cup Matches: 3||World Cup Matches: 2||World Cup Matches: 3||World Cup Matches: 2||World Cup Matches: 2||World Cup Matches: 2||World Cup Matches: 2|
- As Stadium Christchurch
- As Wellington Regional Stadium
- Subject to the stadium being completed on time
... of a highly successful IRB Junior World Championship in the Litoral Region. ... of them will travel to New Zealand in one year for Rugby World Cup 2011. ...
Auckland options-On 10 November 2006, the New Zealand Government announced plans for Stadium New Zealand for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The proposal was to build the new stadium seating 70,000 on the Auckland waterfront. After much public outcry, and lack of support from the Auckland Regional Council, the proposal was dropped in favour of the redevelopment of Eden Park.
The redevelopment of Eden Park's Southern and South Western stands are progressing well. The old stands have been demolished and the supporting pillars and beams have been installed. Work is now starting on the first floor of the Southern stand.
Some consents are still to be approved but the Government has announced it is considering passing a law bypassing the consent process to allow all the stadiums' redevelopment to be completed in time for the Rugby World Cup.
I've taken a long view of this whole World Cup build up business and although I'm still sure their downward spiral is not yet done - I'm confident that with ...