NEW Zealand Rugby has welcomed today’s announcement of the match schedule and venues for Rugby World Cup 2015.
The announcement was made at a function in Twickenham, London, tonight (NZT) with the All Blacks to play their Pool matches in London, Cardiff and Newcastle.
The All Blacks are in Pool C alongside Argentina, Tonga, Europe 1 and Africa 1 and open their tournament against Argentina at Wembley Stadium, London, on September 20. Four days later they play Africa 1 across the city at Olympic Stadium. Their third Pool match will be against Europe 1 on October 2 at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, with the final Pool match against Tonga on October 9 at St James Park in the north-eastern English city of Newcastle.
“It’s exciting that the match schedule has been announced and is the latest step in preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015,” All Blacks Manager Darren Shand said.
“One of the key talking points will be the four-day turnaround between our first two games but that had been flagged well in advance by Rugby World Cup organisers who were keen to make the schedule more fair and equitable particularly for Tier 2 and Tier 3 nations. In fact, we were very supportive of the draw being fairer and were part of the group of countries that suggested it.
“As far as the team is concerned, we will prepare accordingly for the shorter turnaround,” Shand said.
He said it would also be thrilling for the team and its fans with the All Blacks playing at new venues.
The All Blacks played Wales at Wembley in 1997 when Millennium Stadium was being built and played in Newcastle (at County Ground, Gosforth) on the 1924-1925 “Invincibles” tour but it will be the first time they have played at Olympic Stadium.
“Wembley, the Olympic Stadium and St James Park are all iconic venues in their own right and our matches there will certainly be special events, while we are very familiar with Millennium Stadium and our matches there have also been big occasions.”
Shand said while initial discussions had started on the All Blacks campaign for Rugby World Cup 2015, further details on the All Blacks plans would not be finalised until closer to the time.
All Blacks Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool Play match schedule
New Zealand v Argentina, September 20, Wembley Stadium, London
New Zealand v Africa 1, September 24, Olympic Stadium, London
New Zealand v Europe 1 October 2, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
New Zealand v Tonga October 9, St James Park, Newcastle