News in brief
2011 RWC could be NZ's last
March 27, 2010
The William Webb Ellis Trophy pictured prior to the IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 Pool Allocation Draw at Tower Bridge in London, England on December 1, 2008.
The Webb Ellis trophy may not be returning to New Zealand, unless the All Blacks can keep it there © Getty Images

  • New Zealand's Foreign Minister has warned that next year's Rugby World Cup could be the last the country will be able to afford.

    The running costs for the tournament are spiralling for the island nation, and Murray McCully told the Associated Press that the cost prohibitive nature of staging the event mean that the land of the long white cloud is unlikely to bid for the tournament alone again.

    "I think New Zealand is approaching this event on the basis that this may be the last time our small country of four million people can afford to host a rugby World Cup, so we're giving it everything we can," he told The Associated Press after a reception to promote the tournament Friday.

    In addition to paying a fee for hosting rights, McCully, who is also the World Cup minister, said the government is spending hundreds of millions on building and upgrading stadia. He predicted the tournament will run a loss of just under US$28.2 million.

    The government is hoping to make up for the losses next year through an increase in tourism and McCully is also hoping to manage expectations of a home win with the All Blacks searching for their first triumph since 1987.

    "We try to be very careful not to see the hosting of the event as just a chance to get hometown advantage so the All Blacks can win," McCully said.

    "We're going to have a huge party in New Zealand. We want everyone to go away feeling that they've been thoroughly entertained, that they've had a great time, that they've made some useful connections ... and yeah, it would be the icing on the cake if the All Blacks won."

  • Bakkies Botha is likely to join big spending French side Toulon after next year's Rugby World Cup according to reports.

    The Springbok enforcer is believed to be in the south of France negotiating with the club, who pulled off a major coup in signing Carl Haymen this week. Botha would join a stellar cast at Toulon, who already count Felipe Contepomi and Jonny Wilkinson among their number. His Blue Bulls and 'Bok teammate Fouris du Preez announced last week that he would move to a Japanese club after the tournament.

  • Wasps lock Richard Birkett has put pen to paper on a new three year contract at Adams Park.

    The 30 year-old second row has been absent since injuring his knee against Bayonne in the European Challenge Cup in December. He has played for Wasps for eleven years, playing 217 times and winning four Premierships and the 2004 Heineken Cup.

    "Wasps is my home," he said. "I love it here and after 11 years it continues to be the only rugby club I want to be a part of. I think the last couple of seasons have shown signs of a new era, with a new owner, director of rugby and influx of players, and that is exciting for the club and something I want to be a part of.

    "Whilst there has been and will continue to be change, the fact that Wasps keeps hold of its values and what it is really about is what keeps people here and enjoying their rugby. We have a great group of lads at the club and a great set up and I am just really pleased that I will continue as a part of that for the next three seasons."

  • Chairmen of the IRB Board Bernard Lapasset has ruled out the prospect of 15-a-side rugby ever being played at the Olympics remains unlikely.

    Despite the acceptance of Sevens to the summer games earlier this year, the turnaround times involved in the full game would prevent the sport's inclusion according to the Frenchman.

    "The 15s is probably the top sport at the moment in the control of the IRB," he said. "But it is difficult to integrate the system into the Olympic programme because it's a short time. "The two disciplines are with us pushing in different ways to compete for the benefit of rugby union. That is the concept -- that we have the same rules, the same core values and the same athletic guys on the field.


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