Lapasset hails "exceptional" tournament
October 23, 2011
Fullback Israel Dagg celebrates the All Blacks' World Cup triumph © Getty Images
Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset believes that New Zealand did a remarkable job in staging the 2011 event.
The All Blacks defeated France in the final on Sunday to give the locals the outcome they have been dreaming of from the outset and now the Kiwis have been praised for their efforts in making the tournament such a success off the field.
"New Zealand 2011 will be remembered as an exceptional Rugby World Cup," Lapasset said. "It has been a tournament where New Zealand's rich culture and heritage has gone hand in hand with Rugby's tradition and values.
"New Zealanders should be proud of their event. They made it special by embracing the tournament the length and breadth of the country, welcoming all 20 teams and 100,000 international visitors with open arms. It was quite remarkable."
Lapasset was also full of praise for the tournament organisers, claiming that they had delivered one of the best World Cups to date.
"I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Brian Roche, Martin Snedden and the Rugby New Zealand 2011 team, the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Government for their vision, dedication and hard work in delivering Rugby World Cup 2011 in partnership with the IRB team," he said.
"Their reward is the successful hosting of what will be remembered as one of the great Rugby World Cups, a sporting and operational success.
"New Zealand 2011 has positioned the country as a major event host, a superb tourism destination and a great country. It has also taken our sport to new audiences and has set the bar for future hosts."
Consequently, Lapasset is delighted that New Zealand is now set to reap the financial benefits of having staged the game's showpiece event, with an independent study commissioned by MasterCard concluding that the tournament will be worth NZ$750 million to the country straight up, and over NZD$2 billion in the long term.
"The significant economic benefits demonstrate the true value of Rugby World Cup to a host nation, its Government, tourism and business sectors," the Frenchman said. "The great thing about New Zealand 2011 is that there will be no 'white elephants'. The legacy is clear and long lasting."
There have been claims that New Zealand will never again be in a position to serve as hosts again but Lapasset can see no reason why the tournament cannot return to the 'land of the long white cloud' one day.
"The Rugby World Cup is not just to make money, it's also for rugby reasons, and we have a lot of rugby reasons to come back to New Zealand," he said.
"New Zealand is a great rugby nation and has a great capacity to run a big and successful tournament. New Zealand 2011 has positioned the country as a major event host, a superb tourism destination and a welcoming nation. It has also taken our sport to new audiences and has set the bar for future hosts."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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