Thirteen venues across New Zealand have been chosen to host pool matches for Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2011 after the Match Schedule was announced in Auckland today.
Rugby New Zealand (RNZ) 2011 CEO Martin Snedden confirmed the Tournament will kick off at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday 9 September 2011 when New Zealand will play Tonga.
Auckland (Eden Park), Wellington and Christchurch have been allocated five pool matches each while North Shore, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Dunedin will each host three matches. Whangarei, Nelson, Palmerston North, Napier and Invercargill will host two matches.
"Our philosophy all along has been a Stadium of Four Million. We believe today's announcement, building on the knock-out decisions announced last year, takes us further towards the fulfillment of that promise" said Mr Snedden.
"RNZ has worked very closely with Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) over the past few months to bring this to a reality. Our collective view is that the Match Schedule represents the best balance between ensuring a successful Tournament in New Zealand while also recognising its global standing".
The quarter-final match-ups were also confirmed, with the top two teams in Pool A (featuring currently qualified teams New Zealand, France and Tonga) and Pool B (featuring Argentina, England and Scotland) playing off in Christchurch. Wellington will host quarter-finals featuring the winners and runners-up from Pool C (featuring Australia, Ireland and Italy) and Pool D (featuring South Africa, Wales and Fiji).
In addition, the dates for the final weekend, which coincides with Labour Day, were also confirmed with the Bronze Final to take place on Friday October 21 at Eden Park, followed by the Final on Sunday October 23 at the same venue.
"The two day break after the Bronze Final allows us to better prepare for the Final on Sunday, and should also ensure a huge festival night for Auckland on Saturday".
Representatives from all 11 regions which submitted match hosting proposals were in attendance at today's announcement.
The schedule features a blockbuster opening weekend which will see pool heavyweights Argentina take on England in Christchurch, and South Africa play Wales in Wellington as well as communities in Invercargill, New Plymouth, Rotorua and North Shore getting their first taste of Rugby World Cup action. The second and third weekends will feature the Australia v Ireland clash and New Zealand v France respectively. The pool stage wraps up with deciders taking place across all 4 pools.
"Today marks the culmination of a 22 month process that has involved regions from every part of New Zealand" said Mr Snedden.
"We are pleased that all 11 regions will have the opportunity to host matches. Given that a total of 16 venues were proposed, we do appreciate that there will be disappointment among those who have missed out.
"The RWC 2011 Regional Coordination groups, of which there are 22 around New Zealand, will now evolve from having an initial focus on bidding for hosting rights into regional core tournament and festival delivery agents.
"In many respects, today is a special day for the successful regions, and they deserve to be congratulated for the time and effort and unprecedented level of co-operation that has been evident throughout this process".
Speaking at the announcement in Auckland, RWCL Managing Director Mike Miller said, "While the number of match venues is more than Australia 2003 and France 2007 it reflects the Organising Committee's desire to take the tournament to the entire nation under its call to arms of a Stadium of Four Million philosophy. RWCL fully supports this and the desire to ensure the Tournament has a unique look and feel that fits in with the cultural background of the nation."
- New Plymouth
- Palmerston North
- Team Bases
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