Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The two years to go countdown is a significant operational landmark for what is one of the five largest sporting events in the world.
"The global rugby community awaits a tournament that will provide the seventh chapter of the RWC story in a country that is totally immersed in rugby's tradition and culture. It will be an event not to be missed.
Kit McConnell, the Rugby World Cup Tournament Director and the International Rugby Board's senior executive based full-time in New Zealand in the build up to the 2011 tournament, believes that a strong partnership with the Rugby New Zealand 2011 organising body and the New Zealand Government has been pivotal to the excellent progress to date.
"RWCL is extremely confident that, as we reach this landmark, planning and preparation is on track and is ahead of previous Rugby World Cups," he said.
"As we reach the halfway point between tournaments, a clearly evident level of excitement and interest is building in New Zealand thanks to the excellent working relationship between RWCL and RNZ 2011 and the wonderful support of the New Zealand Government and ultimately the New Zealand public.
"Of course the planning started long before the end of the last Rugby World Cup in France and some of the tournament's important building blocks are now in place, including the pool allocation draw, match schedule and selection of venues.
"Looking ahead, we are well on target to meet the key deadlines and early next year the first phase of ticket sales is due to be launched."
Lapasset added: "Operationally, of course, there is still much to do, but today represents another exciting milestone in planning for the tournament.
"The challenge now is to ensure that we remain focused and deliver what promises to be an outstanding Rugby World Cup in 2011."
For RNZ 2011 Ltd CEO Martin Snedden, the two years to go landmark provides the appropriate opportunity to reflect on operational milestones achieved to date and outline the next steps for a tournament that will draw a global television audience of over four billion.
"The number one priority for RNZ 2011 is to ensure the organisation of a first class event that meets the needs of players, coaches, administrators and spectators," said Snedden.
"We've been working very closely with tournament owners Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL), host regions across New Zealand as well as our shareholders, the New Zealand Rugby Union and the New Zealand Government, and are confident that the groundwork is in place for an outstanding tournament."
The milestone is being celebrated in New Zealand with a special Government function in Wellington, hosted by the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and the event kicks off a week of planning meetings between RWCL, RNZ 2011 and the New Zealand Government.
A commemorative two years to go book has been produced to mark the occasion. The 64-page publication details operational, logistical and legacy progress to date and outlines the major milestones over the next two years as the global rugby community counts down to Rugby World Cup 2011.
Please click here to view the commemorative 'Two Years To Go' book.
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