The Springboks will play their Rugby World Cup 2011 matches exclusively in Wellington and the Auckland area, following the announcement of the match schedule in New Zealand on Thursday.
SAPA reports that South Africa kick off their tournament against Wales at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Sunday, September 11, two days after hosts New Zealand open the tournament against Tonga at Eden Park in Auckland.
2003 champions England tackle surprise semifinalists Argentina at Christchurch on September 10 in Pool B in a blockbuster start to the tournament.
Twice World Cup champions Australia start their Pool C campaign against Italy at Christchurch the following day while France, Ireland and Scotland also play on the first weekend although their opponents are still to be determined.
The Springboks stay in Wellington for their second Pool D match against Fiji on Saturday, September 17, before moving to the top of the North Island.
They play an Africa qualifier at the North Harbour Stadium on Thursday, September 22, and complete pool play at the same venue against the Oceania qualifier – likely to be Samoa – on Friday, September 30.
The top two teams from Pool D return to Wellington for the quarterfinals on the weekend of October 8/9 with the semifinals taking place at Eden Park, Auckland, a week later and the final at the same venue on October 23.
The 48 tournament matches are scheduled across 13 venues in 13 cities: Auckland, North Shore, Whangarei, Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill.
Rugby World Cup (RWCL) chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said: “The sporting world is awaiting with great excitement the next chapter in Rugby World Cup history and we are delighted that New Zealand, a country so rich in rugby heritage and tradition, is the host of Rugby World Cup 2011.
“A lot of work and collaboration has gone into the match schedule and the selection of match venues. This has included input from the IRB, Rugby New Zealand 2011 and the cities and regions of New Zealand.
“The RWCL Board is very happy with the outcome and believes this is the best balanced schedule we have seen for a Rugby World Cup in terms of benefitting player welfare.”
Speaking at the announcement in Auckland, RWCL managing director Mike Miller said: “While the number of match venues is more than Australia 2003 and France 2007, it reflects the Organising Committee’s desire to take the tournament to the entire nation under its call to arms of a Stadium of Four Million People philosophy. RWCL fully supports this and the desire to ensure the tournament has a unique look and feel that fits in with the cultural background of the nation.”Tweet