New Zealand is poised to hold an excellent Rugby World Cup with tournament preparations well on track and a wonderful celebration planned for teams and fans, International Rugby Board Vice Chairman Bill Beaumont declared today.
Bill Beaumont joined New Zealand Prime Minister the Rt Hon John Key in celebrating the ‘100 days to go’ milestone at a special ceremony at New Zealand’s Parliament in the capital Wellington.
The event included a symbolic rolling out of a giant welcome mat on the Parliament’s front steps featuring greetings in the language of each of the 20 participating nations.
Beaumont said: “Kiwis are renowned for their hospitality and the giant welcome mat summed up to me the warmth of the welcome New Zealanders up and down the land will be extending to teams and more than 85,000 fans in 100 days’ time.
“Preparations are well on track. Tomorrow, I will visit the magnificent fully enclosed Otago Stadium which will be handed over to tournament organisers in August as planned.
“All other stadia redevelopments have been completed on time, matchday preparations are well advanced and I know teams will be well looked after so I have no doubt the platform has been laid for an excellent tournament.
“And it will be extra special for fans as for the first time at a Rugby World Cup, there will be a nationwide festival happening across the country.
“The REAL New Zealand Festival is shaping up to provide fans with a really special taste of what this country has to offer in rugby, entertainment, art, culture and food and wine.”
Martin Snedden, CEO for tournament organisers Rugby NZ 2011, said the company was now entering an intense period of preparation.
“Our team is really focused on delivering an excellent tournament and one New Zealanders will be proud of,” he explained.
With broadcast, sponsorship and commercial ticketing revenues underpinning the IRB’s global programme of rugby development and growth, Beaumont said that the RWC 2011 commercial programme was on track to boost rugby worldwide.
“Each Rugby World Cup in succession has provided the catalyst for rugby to grow worldwide. Not just through international exposure and profile, but through the commercial revenues that underwrite the extensive IRB development and funding programmes aimed at increasing global competitiveness.
“Indeed, rugby participation has grown 18% since the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France thanks to such programmes.
“I have no doubt New Zealand will deliver a unique and ultimately a successful Rugby World Cup.
“It will be a tournament that New Zealanders and the global rugby family will be proud of and an event that will strengthen the importance of the Rugby World Cup in delivering the financial platform to grow the reach and development of global rugby.”
Prime Minister John Key today unveiled plans for the nationwide RWC 2011 Roadshow which will visit 27 towns and cities across New Zealand in July.
The Roadshow is supported by RWC 2011 worldwide partners ANZ, DHL and Land Rover and the NZ 2011 Office. It will feature a custom built truck jam-packed with interactive displays and videos on Rugby World Cup history and legends.
Fans can have their photo taken with the Webb Ellis Cup, get a taste of the REAL New Zealand Festival events in their area, join the NZ2011 Business Club and buy match tickets.
The roadshow kicks off on July 4 in Bluff, the same day tickets for RWC 2011 go back on sale. See the full Roadshow schedule at www.rugbyworldcup.com/roadshow.
To mark the ‘100 days to go’ milestone, RNZ 2011 today released a special eMagazine, ‘Countdown to RWC 2011’, highlighting some of the ways New Zealanders are showing their support for the Tournament.
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