RWC 2011 - one of the greatest events ever seen in New Zealand
Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011) is shaping up as one of the greatest events in our country's history.
It is a time to be a proud Kiwi. We have done well so far, although it is not over yet and it will be important to maintain our enthusiasm and commitment to being a stadium of four million hosts.
On the field we've seen some attractive rugby from the developing nations, had an upset or two thrown in, and for All Blacks fans – witnessed four impressive victories.
One of the most memorable moments was Richie McCaw becoming the first All Black to reach 100 Test caps, made even more significant as Jock Hobbs made the presentation to his fellow No. 7.
On the downside, the news of Dan Carter's RWC 2011 ending injury is obviously a major disappointment and he is understandably gutted. We are all rallying around Dan as he has been a special part of the All Blacks for a long time. He is already contributing to the team's preparation which is a reflection of the quality of the man.
As pool play has now concluded and we farewell 12 of the competing teams, we are in no doubt that New Zealand has demonstrated its capability to host a Rugby World Cup and proven that a smaller nation can put on a world-class event.
At the NZRU we are working hard to ensure the long-term benefits of the event roll on beyond the final whistle - irrespective of who wins the tournament. We want the increased profile of rugby to result in greater numbers playing the game, with some of the new fans attending matches next year and we also need to encourage some of the 6500 RWC 2011 volunteers to get involved in rugby if they aren't already.
You may also have seen my comments in the media about the financial challenges faced by some participating unions.
I am confident there is enough desire within the IRB to review the financial model and that the All Blacks will be competing on the world stage in England in 2015.
And finally, while our eyes have been on the rugby action, our thoughts have been with the people of earthquake-stricken Canterbury. The All Blacks spent a week in Christchurch during pool play, and you helped us raise more than $500,000 for Canterbury. We thank you all for your contribution.
Enjoy the rest of RWC 2011 – and thanks for your undying support of our boys in black.
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