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NZ Disappointed At Decision

The New Zealand Rugby Football Union today expressed disappointment at the International Rugby Board’s decision to make Australia sole host of Rugby World Cup 2003.

NZRFU Chairman Murray McCaw said it was a sad day for international rugby.

“New Zealand’s desire to co-host the Rugby World Cup is probably stronger than any other country in the world and we have worked as hard as is humanly possible to be involved in the tournament,” Mr McCaw said.

“We thank all those New Zealanders, Australians and rugby lovers in many other countries, and NZRFU and Rugby World Cup 2003 sponsors who have worked hard to try and keep the tournament in New Zealand. We also made some new friends in international rugby. As far as we are concerned there is no North/South divide in world rugby.”

“New Zealand complied with all the conditions for hosting Rugby World Cup 2003 and in recent days we even suggested a number of compromise proposals that still had the tournament in both countries but increased revenue streams to the IRB.

“The NZRFU argued strongly that if the objective of Rugby World Cups is to grow the game by showcasing it to the world, then there was no better place than New Zealand to host or co-host it.

“In the end, however, it still wasn’t enough to convince the IRB Council. They appeared to put a greater emphasis on the extra money the Australian solo bid brought in ahead of the original joint hosting arrangement. Money has won the day.

“We are extremely disappointed. New Zealand has put its heart and soul into this effort. But the decision has been taken and we must now live with it and refocus.
Mr McCaw said New Zealand had always played an active role in the goal to grow rugby globally.

“Our role in creating the first Rugby World Cup in 1987 was focused on building further international support for the game. That commitment is unswerving. New Zealand is very much a part of international rugby and we will continue to take an active role in supporting the growth of the game.”

He acknowledged that the recent Rugby World Cup negotiations had placed strain on some of New Zealand’s international rugby relationships. On the other hand, new friendships have been formed along the way.
“We remain committed to moving forward in the development of the game in New Zealand and worldwide.”

Ends

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