3 Jul 2010

SAS will help security teams at Rugby World Cup

12:07 pm on 3 July 2010

The Government says it is confident about security arrangements for next year's Rugby World Cup.

The head of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, has confirmed the SAS will be back from Afghanistan early next year and will help out during the tournament.

A spokesperson from the office of Rugby World Cup Associate Minister Gerry Brownlee confirmed the Government is very comfortable with security preparations for the event.

The company organising the World Cup, Rugby New Zealand 2011, won't comment on the SAS involvement, but says the police are the lead agency for the security arrangements.

Police say they do not comment on security personnel or planning details.

New Zealand SAS Association president David Moloney says it's the role of the unit, to back-up police in counter-terrorism operations.

He says the unit would be actively deployed only as a last resort as the SAS is usually called in when all other measures have failed, such as in hostage situations.

However, the Green Party says an overt display of military muscle at the World Cup would be an over-reaction.