It's June 1st, and it's supposedly the first day of winter although you wouldn't know it. But more importantly, it's just 100 days until the 2011 Rugby World Cup begins - Tracy Watkins reports in Stuff:
One hundred days out from New Zealand's biggest international event, and after a year overshadowed by tragedy and recession, Rugby World Cup organisers and the Government are uniting in a call to Kiwis to get behind the tournament.
The 100-day milestone will be marked at a ceremony at Parliament today, six years after former prime minister Helen Clark and All Black Tana Umaga scored an unlikely victory to secure the 2011 World Cup hosting rights by pitching New Zealand as a stadium of four million people.
But with just months until the opening ceremony, Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden admits a lot has changed since those heady days.
He still believes in the stadium of four million but admits "that stadium is still under construction".
We were struck by the photo above of RWC CEO Martin Snedden. "Sneds", as he was known in his cricketing days always looked as though he had supped from the fountain of eternal youth, even after has drama-filled years running New Zealand Cricket. It would seem that the RWC job has been a pretty stiff challenge for Snedden, although we have no doubt that he was the man for the job.
It's highly likely that this will be the last time that New Zealand hosts the Rugby World Cup in our lifetime. The initial RWC in 1987 was hugely successful, probably because no-one really had any expectations of the tournament. We went to a number of matches in 1987 including the final; when Michael Jones scored his try in the first half; we were just a dozen rows back from him. At this stage, we don't have any tickets for matches this year; we might see if there are any last-gasp sales, but in all probability we'll be watching games from the comfort of the couch.
That's not to say that we're not looking forward to the Rugby World Cup with much anticipation; we most certainly are, and we're hoping that this will be the year that the All Blacks get the Webb-Ellis monkey off their backs. It's going to be a fantastic torunament; of that we have no doubt. New Zealand should be humming, and tills should be ringing merrily. The only imponderable is the final outcome of the RWC, and of that, we're guardedly optimistic.
so it's 100 days - and counting down. Bring it on!