RWC'11 match schedule and venues announced
March 12, 2009
Who will lift the William Webb Ellis Cup at RWC'11? © Getty Images
The match schedule and pool venues for Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand have been announced by tournament officials.
The largest global sporting event in 2011, that will be played from Friday, September 9 to Sunday, October 23, will kick off in Auckland when the host Nation New Zealand plays Oceania rivals Tonga.
The 48 tournament matches are scheduled across 13 venues in 13 cities: Auckland, North Shore, Whangarei, Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill.
Rugby World Cup (RWCL) Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said, "The sporting world is awaiting with great excitement the next chapter in Rugby World Cup history and we are delighted that New Zealand, a country so rich in Rugby heritage and tradition, is the host of Rugby World Cup 2011."
"A lot of work and collaboration has gone into the match schedule and the selection of match venues. This has included input from the IRB, Rugby New Zealand 2011 and the cities and regions of New Zealand. The RWCL Board is very happy with the outcome and believes this is the best balanced schedule we have seen for a Rugby World Cup in terms of benefitting player welfare."
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 People 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."
RNZ 2011 Chief Executive Martin Snedden said, "We believe today's announcement builds on the knockout venue decisions announced last year and takes us further towards the fulfilment of our promise that the tournament will touch the whole of New Zealand."
"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. Auckland (Eden Park), Wellington and Christchurch have been allocated five pool matches each while North Shore (Auckland), Hamilton, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Dunedin will each host three matches. Whangarei, Nelson, Palmerston North, Napier and Invercargill will host two matches."
"Rugby World Cup is much more than a series of 48 rugby matches. It will be an international festival across New Zealand quite unlike the country has even seen and will attract up to 60,000 international visitors," added Mr Snedden.
The two venues and the quarter-final matches they will host have also been confirmed. Wellington will host Quarter-final 1 (winner Pool C versus runner-up Pool D) and Quarter-final 3 (winner Pool D versus runner-up Pool C) while Christchurch will host Quarter-final 2 (winner Pool B versus runner-up Pool A) and Quarter-final 4 (winner Pool A versus runner-up Pool B). Auckland will host both semi-finals.
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.
Pool A New Zealand; France; Tonga; Americas 1; Asia 1
Pool B Argentina; England; Scotland; Europe 1; Play-off winner
Pool C Australia; Ireland; Italy; Europe 2; Americas 2
Pool D South Africa; Wales; Fiji; Oceania 1; Africa 1
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales were just 13 minutes from a famous victory, but the lessons to be learned in defeat are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic
England must find a way to improve their game by tiny margins and they will get there, writes Phil Vickery