19 May, 11:13
There are six uncapped players in the Ireland squad for the summer tour to North America that was named this morning. An Emerging Ireland squad has also been selected for the Tblisi Cup in Georgia.
As a result of today's announcement, Eden Park and the Auckland region will now host the last four games of the tournament - both semi-finals, the bronze final and the final itself.
The decisions announced today were unchanged from those recommended by the Board of RNZ 2011 Ltd and ratified by the Board of Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) which met in Dublin on Wednesday.
RWCL chairman Bernard Lapasset said RWCL is delighted to endorse RNZ 2011's recommendation for the quarter-finals to be staged in Christchurch and Wellington and for the bronze final to be staged at Auckland's Eden Park.
"Our experience tells us that for the integrity of the tournament, in terms of planning and management, the best option is two venues for the quarter-finals," Lapasset explained.
"It means there is clarity for travelling supporters in terms of their ticket purchase options in advance of the tournament and it greatly assists team logistics and travel planning for the knock-out stages.
"Wellington and Christchurch are renowned international rugby venues and we are confident these cities and their surrounding regions will be great hosts for these important matches. The same is true for Auckland and having the bronze final in the same city just days before the final is also a tried and tested formula."
The four quarter-finals will be played on the weekend of October 7, 8 and 9, 2011. The semi-finals will be played on the weekend of October 15 and 16.
The bronze final will be staged one or two days prior to the final, which is scheduled to be played on 'Labour Weekend' (October 21-23) 2011.
The decision to award the quarter-finals to two cities is similar to the structure used at RWC 2003, when the equivalent stage of knock-out matches was hosted by Melbourne and Brisbane. For RWC 2007, two of the quarter-finals were held in Marseilles, while Paris and Cardiff hosted one quarter-final each.
"We understood RWCL's preference to host the quarter-finals in only two venues, as that is far easier an operational and paying spectator's standpoint," Snedden added.
"The proposals put to us supported that proposition and, as a result, we were able to make it work for the 2011 tournament.
"At the same time, we were greatly impressed with all of the proposals including those from the Hamilton region for the bronze final and from North Harbour Stadium, which was one of two options in the Auckland region's bid to host the bronze final.
"We can appreciate that there will be disappointment. However we are encouraging all regions to focus on the opportunities that are coming up in the pool match and team base allocations ahead.
"The quarter-finals and bronze final allocation announcement is only the beginning of the process."
Submissions for pool matches and to host teams will be required by October 31 with decisions on pool venues scheduled to be announced in March or April 2009 and team bases in late 2009.