Rugby World Cup Countdown

8 September 2009

On 9 September 2011 - just two years from now - the spotlight will turn to New Zealand for the opening match of the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Rugby at Wellington Regional Stadium

Rugby at Wellington Regional Stadium

The first game of RWC 2011 - New Zealand versus Tonga - will be played at Auckland's Eden Park, but almost immediately action will be underway in Wellington. In all, seven matches will be played at Wellington Regional Stadium - the first is South Africa versus Wales on Saturday 11 September.

For Wellington, RWC 2011 is huge. The tournament is expected to attract more than 60,000 international visitors and rugby fans from across New Zealand, especially for the All Blacks match and the two quarter-final matches. Millions more around the world will be watching on television.

To ensure the city is ready, we have established a RWC 2011 project team. That team is working with Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington Rugby, tourism agencies and local authorities. Wellington City's RWC 2011 Director, Derek Fry, says the city showed what it could do in 2005 when the British and Irish Lions were here with their army of supporters. "In many ways, what Wellington delivered that weekend set the standard and gave the International Rugby Board confidence that New Zealand could handle the World Cup. But this is the real thing. It is so much bigger."

For Derek, there is more to the event than rugby. "We start by helping deliver an outstanding rugby tournament for the teams and the fans, but we're also looking more broadly to capture lasting economic and social benefits for the city."

Projects planned for completion in time for RWC 2011 are the extension of the international terminal at Wellington Airport, new apartment and hotel developments, the Indoor Community Sports Centre and new artificial surfaces on our sportsfields.

Plans include a major festival in the city for all to enjoy. "We'll be pulling out all the stops to ensure this is a month-long celebration that everyone feels part of," says Derek. "That's what will make RWC 2011 so memorable.

"We want to showcase our country to the world, but we also want it to be an event for all New Zealanders and for everyone in this city. I think that's the real meaning of 'a stadium of four million people'.

"To succeed, we need to involve the whole community and that's why, tomorrow, we're unveiling a countdown clock on the NZX building. The next two years are going to pass very quickly."

Wellington's RWC 2011 Matches:

  • South Africa vs Wales, Saturday 11 September
  • South Africa vs Fiji, Saturday 17 September
  • Australia vs Americas 2, Friday 23 September
  • France vs Tonga, Saturday 1 October
  • New Zealand vs Canada, Sunday 2 October
  • Quarter-final 1, Saturday 8 October
  • Quarter-final 3, Sunday 9 October

Tickets go on sale early next year.