The seventh Rugby World Cup is ready to kick-off declared the International Rugby Board today, two days ahead of the scheduled Opening Match at Eden Park on Friday 9 September
“I am convinced that the stage is set for an exceptional Rugby World Cup,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“New Zealanders and 95,000 fans from all corners of the earth will join in celebration of a Tournament that will deliver not just a sporting spectacle, but a festival that will showcase all that is great about this passionate Rugby nation.
“It will also be an event that will deliver significant economic, trade and tourism benefits as New Zealand becomes the centre of the sporting world for the next seven weeks.
“New Zealand is ready. The teams are ready. The fans are ready. I have no doubt that this will be a Rugby World Cup that New Zealanders and the global Rugby family will be proud of.”
Tournament organiser Rugby New Zealand 2011 (RNZ 2011) said the final touches were being put on preparations at Eden Park ahead of what it promised would be an Opening Ceremony, the like of which New Zealand had not seen before.
“It will be spectacular, it will be memorable and it will show the world why we are a spirited and creative nation,” said RNZ 2011 CEO Martin Snedden.
“We urge all fans going to Eden Park on Friday night to get there early and not miss a second of this special celebration of New Zealand and the Rugby world coming to our place.” Ceremony entertainment begins at 7pm with the Opening Match between New Zealand and Tonga kicking off at 8.30pm.
RNZ 2011 confirmed that the opening night of RWC 2011 is headed towards a capacity crowd with just a thousand tickets remaining.
“This will be the biggest Rugby crowd in New Zealand for more than 50 years which will create a fantastic atmosphere for this historic event. There are still tickets left, but fans shouldn’t delay buying tickets or they will miss out.”
RNZ 2011 said overall Tournament ticket sales were continuing to track towards targets with revenue to date reaching NZ$246 million against a Tournament end target of NZ$268 million. Total ticket sales have climbed to almost 1.2 million.
“In the last 100 days we have sold NZ$77m of tickets. We now effectively have just under 50 days to sell another NZ$22m so this is very achievable.
“We are firmly on track and momentum is building as we always said it would once teams arrived and fans across New Zealand witnessed the Tournament coming alive.
“Up and down the land over the past week we have seen thousands of New Zealanders welcome teams to their communities and get a taste of what will unfold over the next six weeks.”
Tickets are still available for most matches. RNZ 2011 urged fans to only buy through official sources. Tickets can be purchased online through www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets or selected Ticketek outlets.
“We know many fans will only now be turning their minds to securing their places ringside for some great RWC matches. As with all global sporting events, there have been cases of fraud and we have been forced to cancel tickets.
“The last thing we want is to turn fans away at the gate who may have bought tickets that have been fraudulently obtained so to avoid disappointment we urge all fans to buy from official sources only.
“Without doubt we will deliver a Tournament all New Zealanders will be proud of and one that will live long in the memories of all those who come to our shores.”
Eden Park reminder
5.30pm: Gates open
7.00pm: Ceremony entertainment begins
7.30pm: Opening Ceremony begins
8.30pm: Opening Match New Zealand v Tonga kicks-off
Advice for fans
Get there early, well before the Opening Ceremony. We strongly recommend that you are in your seat before 7pm for the ceremony pre-show.
If you still need to collect your tickets, do so now and avoid queuing at the ground.
Take public transport - your match ticket gets you a free bus or train ride there and back.
Bring cash or MasterCard - there are limited cash out facilities.
Use the Entry Gate named on your ticket so you can get to your seat quickly.
Bring ID - if you are a visitor to our country, you may need to bring your passport to purchase alcohol. The legal drinking age is 18.
Be aware of prohibited items.
Also in New Zealand today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to Auckland.
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City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.