24 Oct 2011

Rugby World Cup will be back, says mayor

10:33 pm on 24 October 2011

Auckland's mayor wants to host another Rugby World Cup and hopes discussions on a future bid can begin within months.

Less than a day after the All Blacks became world champions Len Brown says both the country and Auckland have shown they can handle a world class sporting tournament.

Mr Brown says he wants to do it all again.

The next available tournament would not be until 2023 and Mr Brown says there's already been conjecture about hosting it in New Zealand.

He says the country sold the capacity for New Zealand to host the Rugby World Cup so well that it is a matter of if, not when, the tournament will return.

The 2011 tournament is expected to result in a $39 million loss which will be paid by taxpayers.

Mr Brown says the city's fan zones were completed packed for the World Cup final, justifying the extra effort and expense.

The opening night of the tournament was marred by crowd and transport problems, prompting some hurried action to ensure there was no repeat of the problems.

Mr Brown says the city has really stepped up.

Accolades from IRB boss

International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset says the tournament will go down as one of the great Rugby World Cups.

He says it captured the hearts and minds of all who experienced it.

Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully says the tournament has been an overwhelming success.

He says the Government asked for a stadium of four million people but got four million hosts.

He says the way in which local people went out of their way to welcome visitors made it very special.

Mr McCully also thanked organisers, saying the tournament was a truly outstanding achievement by some outstanding people.

Almost two million people watched the final on the four channels televising the event.

Sunday night's audience of 984,600 New Zealand viewers was about 11,500 more than watched the All Blacks' semi-final against Australia, and about 350,000 more than watched the opening game of the tournament - the All Blacks versus Tonga.

Visitor numbers exceed expectations

Mr McCully says visitor numbers throughout the tournament well exceeded expectations.

By the end of the month visitor numbers for the cup are expected to be confirmed at about 120,000.

Just under 75,000 people arrived during September, with the rest arriving this month .

More than a million people visited Queens Wharf during the past six weeks, with key attractions including the interactive rugby ball and waka-shaped pavilion drawing the crowds.

The biggest night for crowds was the opening night which attracted 200,000 people, compared to 120,000 on Sunday night.

High bar - next host

The next tournament in 2015 will be hosted by England and the chief executive of that event says New Zealand has set a high bar for the English to follow.

Paul Vaughan says there are a lot of things England could learn from New Zealand.

He says fan zones and the fan trail to Eden Park were a triumph.

Mr Vaughan has also praised the way the community engaged with the tournament.