1 Nov 2008

Provinces vie to be part of 2011 Rugby World Cup

7:12 am on 1 November 2008

The group responsible for the 2011 Rugby World Cup says it's possible pool matches might be played in up to 15 venues.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 said it has received proposals from groups representing 11 regions, to host games and teams.

Chief executive Martin Snedden says the response has been exceptional and demonstrates how much the regions want to be involved.

Mr Snedden says it provides the country with the perfect platform to deliver on their collective vision of "A Stadium of Four Million".

"We're absolutely determined to make this a nationwide tournament, it's not an Auckland-centric tournament, it's not just a tournment that is based only in three cities," he said.

"We want New Zealand as a whole to get a chance to directly experience the Rugby World Cup."

Match venues and the schedule are expected to be announced in mid-March, while team bases will be announced later in 2009.

In September, it was announced Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington would host all matches from the quarterfinals on.

Regions which applied to host pool matches are: Northland, Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wellington, Nelson-Tasman, Christchurch and the Southern Region (Otago-Southland).

Auckland and the Southern Region's proposals contain three venues, while the Bay of Plenty's proposal includes two venues.

Regions which applied to host teams only are: Marlborough, Tairawhiti (Poverty Bay-East Coast), Taupo, Aoraki Region (Timaru), Ashburton, West Coast and Wanganui.

Super 14 player plan

The Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill has called for an open player market between the Tri-nations competitors to help curb a talent drain to Europe.

O'Neill proposes All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies be able to roam freely between Super 14 clubs.

He says even the prospect of seeing Wallabies pin-up Matt Giteau running out for the Auckland Blues was far more desirable than continually losing players to cashed-up European clubs.

The ARU's current policy is not to select overseas-based Australians for the Wallabies.

But O'Neill says times have changed and, estimating the "English and French rugby economies were five times that of the southern hemisphere nations", radical measures were needed.