Rugby World Cup
Challenges ahead for 2011 hosts
December 2, 2008
Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden, December 19 2006
Martin Snedden hopes to capture the imagination of the New Zealand public in 2011 © Getty Images

Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden has launched a charm offensive to ensure that the 2011 World Cup will be embraced by the New Zealand public regardless of the success of the All Blacks.

"We're trying to suggest to New Zealanders this tournament is not all about the All Blacks," Snedden said. "There's 19 other teams participating, their groups of supporters will be there. The maximum number of games the All Blacks can play is seven out of 48 - there's 41 matches at least they won't be playing in. It's not all about the All Blacks.

"Yes, we want them to do well but our focus is on the tournament itself."

The success of the 2007 tournament in France was based around packed stadiums for every match, and locals embracing the players and fans of the sides based in their regions. Changing the perception that the All Blacks are all that matters will be big challenge in the years before the tournament.

"It's a challenging one. I'm doing a lot of public speaking and I'm constantly giving that message - you can see some people rolling their eyes and going 'Oh yeah ...' but if ultimately we don't grasp that then New Zealand will miss an opportunity."

Another problem that is set to raise its head for Snedden is the pricing of tickets for the knock-out stages, many of which will be extravagant compared to New Zealand's norm. "Knockout match prices are really high by New Zealand standards," he admitted, equating them to the cost for sudden death matches in France last year.

Considering the large cost of running the tournament, ticket sales will be a huge source of revenue and will reflect this importance in inflated prices. Pool matches should cost roughly the same as a ticket for an All Blacks Test while those involving smaller nations will cost roughly the same as a Super 14 ticket.


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