The 2011 Rugby World Cup will be the seventh Rugby World Cup, a quadrennial international rugby union competition inaugurated in 1987. At a meeting of the International Rugby Board (IRB) held in Dublin on 17 November 2005, New Zealand was selected as the host country in preference to Japan and South Africa. There were two rounds of voting by the IRB Council to decide the host nation, with South Africa eliminated in the first round. It will be the largest sporting event ever held in New Zealand, eclipsing the 1987 Rugby World Cup, 1990 Commonwealth Games, 1992 Cricket World Cup, 2003 America’s Cup and 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. Around 100,000 visitors from overseas are expected to travel to New Zealand for the associated games and events.
The event is scheduled to be played over seven weekends from the weekend starting 10 September and culminating the weekend starting 22 October 2011. The weekend of the final was chosen so it falls on a long weekend caused by the New Zealand public holiday of Labour Day (Monday, 24 October 2011). The final is scheduled to be played in Auckland at Eden Park.
As of 19 February 2008, New Zealand’s progress in preparing and implementing plans for the event received an A+ rating from the International Rugby Board’s chairman and chief executive.
After speculation that the number of participating teams would be reduced to 16, the IRB announced on Friday, 30 November 2007 that the 2011 tournament would again feature 20 teams. Twelve teams qualified as a result of finishing in the top three in each pool in the 2007 tournament. The remaining eight berths were determined by regional qualifying tournaments.
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