RWC 2011 coming to a climax
As the fantastic RWC 2011 tournament draws to a climax I thought it timely to share with you some of my reflections on the tournament.
When the announcement was made in Dublin in November 2005 that RWC 2011 would be held in New Zealand, few would have thought that this event would be the success it has been. Given the worldwide economic recession and natural disasters at home and overseas; even the most optimistic would have struggled to imagine full stadiums, 100,000 international visitors, 65,000 people up at 9am to pack-out a stadium in Cardiff to watch a semi-final being played in Auckland, thousands of friendly sensational volunteers making a real difference, achieving our targeted revenue of $268.5m and to top it off, a repeat of the 1987 finalists. Remarkable!
On the field, the ABs have demonstrated they are an exceptional group of players whose experience, commitment and professionalism will provide a lasting legacy for our game in New Zealand. While we still have one vital game to go, they have proved they are great ambassadors for the All Black jersey and the efforts of the players that have gone before them.
15,000 Bucket-heads and strengthened relationships
From a tournament perspective, one of my fondest memories is being in Palmerston North for the Georgia and Romania game. Not only was it a sell-out; the atmosphere at the game was electric, thanks in a large part to the support of the local and regional councils and work of the Manawatu Union – and not to mention thousands of colourful ‘bucket-heads’ who made it such a vibrant occasion.
The relationships required to pull this tournament together have strengthened by the day. From clubs throughout the country who have welcomed visitors from all over the world travelling in their camper vans, to Provincial Unions, local and regional councils, government departments, and their political leaders – the support has been unwavering.
The collaborative work of Rugby New Zealand 2011, the NZRU, our Government, and the IRB has ensured that this has been a memorable world-class rugby tournament in a rugby country and I think we can all be confident the tournament will one day return to these shores.
Focus on the Final - We’re all looking forward to the final and the team certainly isn’t taking anything for granted. This is a very competitive and unpredictable French team who I have no doubt will play out of their skins on Sunday.
Thanks again for your awesome support of Rugby World Cup 2011 – and especially for getting firmly behind our boys in black; let’s keep it up for a bit longer.
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