Communities, big and small, across New Zealand have been given a chance to share in the excitement of Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011) following the decision to allocate hosting rights to 23 centres.
The announcement was made by Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd (RNZ 2011) CEO Martin Snedden at a function in Auckland this morning.
“We as a nation are passionate about Rugby so it’s fantastic that we can bring RWC 2011 to the backyards of so much of New Zealand.”
23 centres – 16 in the North Island, seven in the South Island – will host at least one of the 20 participating teams.
“Today’s announcement is particularly exciting for many smaller centres which applied to host teams outside the 13 match venues already named.” Ten additional centres have been selected:
Bay of Islands
“We have said all along that we wanted as many communities as reasonably possible to get a first hand taste of this exciting Tournament. Today’s announcement is a really important component in bringing to life New Zealand’s Stadium of Four Million.
“It’s a great opportunity for everyone. Teams will be able to experience more of New Zealand’s rich culture and spectacular scenery and these hosting communities will be able to showcase themselves, their hospitality and attractions to the world.
“Today we are also announcing that teams will use a total of 47 training grounds across the country for the duration of RWC 2011. This mixture of Rugby club, school and public training facilities will help many communities get even closer to Rugby’s showpiece Tournament as well as giving teams an outstanding platform for their preparations.
“What is really fantastic is that teams and fans can experience our passion for the Game in Rugby’s grassroots where our traditions are strongest.
“For example, Tonga and Samoa will train at one of the oldest clubs in the country, the Ponsonby Rugby Club. Ponsonby boasts an honours board stacked with All Blacks such as Bryan Williams, Andy Haden, Joe Stanley and Carlos Spencer as well as first class facilities at its Western Springs ground.
“Teams will also train at several schools which have a proud tradition of Rugby such as Southland Boy’s High, Christ’s College, New Plymouth Boy’s High and Rotorua Boy’s High.
“I am confident that all of the hosting communities will take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and give teams and fans a friendly welcome, great service and a Kiwi experience they will treasure forever,” concluded Martin Snedden.
Each of the host centres will also be integrated into the RWC 2011 Festival to be wrapped around the Tournament which aims to ensure people around the country have the opportunity to take part in the RWC 2011 experience.
Rugby World Cup Ltd Chairman Bernard Lapasset said the Team Hosting announcement was another important milestone towards making RWC 2011 an outstanding Tournament.
“I have no doubt RWC 2011 will be a great success because teams will receive wonderful support from the hosting communities which I know are passionate about Rugby.”