We were interested to see the allocation of matches for the 2011 Rugby World Cup yesterday, and delighted that there will be an abundance of choices within a couple of hours' drive of the Inventory whare. There are seven matches in Wellington, including two quarter-finals, three in New Plymouth and two in Palmerston North.
We (me. myself and I) were at that very first RWC final in Auckland in 1987, sitting on the terraces right in front of where the great Michael Jones scored the opening try. Somehow though, we doubt that we'll get to repeat that experience in 2011, with suggestions that tickets to the final (if you can get them) will be up to $1400.
We listened to RWC chief Martin Snedden on RadioSport earlier this morning. His years as CEO of NZ Cricket have, if nothing else, made him a realist as he reminded listeners that the RWC is NOT New Zealand's tournament - rather, it is an international tournament being hosted by New Zealand. He has had to make compromises. We can't say we are happy with 9pm kickoffs, but that seems to have been the trade-off for getting the IRB to relent on its demand for a maximum of ten venues. Snedden has been able to share the RWC love around 13 different venues.
All we can hope for now is that the All Blacks will be able to put the nightmare of 2003 behind them, and actually win the bloody thing!