New Zealand has celebrated a major landmark in preparations for the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup.

With less than 100 days to go all stadia redevelopments have been completed on time and additional projects are on schedule. To mark the occasion a grand ceremony included a symbolic rolling out of a giant welcome mat on Parliament’s front steps featuring greetings in the language of each of the 20 participating nations.

"Kiwis are renowned for their hospitality and the giant welcome mat summed up to me the warmth of the welcome New Zealanders up and down the land will be extending to teams and more than 85,000 fans in 100 days’ time,” said International Rugby Board Vice Chairman Bill Beaumont.

"Preparations are well on track. Tomorrow, I will visit the magnificent fully enclosed Otago Stadium which will be handed over to tournament organisers in August as planned.  All other stadia redevelopments have been completed on time, match day preparations are well advanced and I know teams will be well looked after so I have no doubt the platform has been laid for an excellent tournament."

With broadcast, sponsorship and commercial ticketing revenues underpinning the IRB’s global programme of rugby development and growth, Beaumont is confident that they’re on track to boost rugby worldwide. This is certainly true as rugby participation has grown 18% since the 2007 World Cup in France.

"I have no doubt New Zealand will deliver a unique and ultimately a successful RWC,” Beaumont added. “It will be a tournament that New Zealanders and the global Rugby family will be proud of and an event that will strengthen the importance of RWC in delivering the financial platform to grow the reach and development of global Rugby."

The tournament kicks off on 9 September 2011. Check out all the venues for the tournament here.

Posted on 02/06/2011