Rugby WCup boss to learn from Delhi`s `missed opportunity`

Wellington: India`s experience hosting the
Commonwealth Games provided valuable lessons for New Zealand
in the lead-up to next year`s Rugby World Cup, the tournament
chief said on Thursday.

Rugby NZ 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden said the
Games in New Delhi were "better than many expected, but will
probably go down in history as a missed opportunity for both
the event and the host country".

"During the lead-up there were some very early warning
signs that things weren`t right or, perhaps more accurately,
weren`t perceived to be right," Snedden said in the
tournament`s monthly newsletter.

He cited controversy over the standard of athletes`
accommodation, the collapse of a pedestrian footbridge at the
main stadium two weeks before the opening ceremony and
security concerns -- which eventually proved unfounded.

"A key lesson for us is the importance of the host
country engendering widespread confidence in its ability to
deliver something special," Snedden said.

He said New Zealand had been transparent about the
progress of preparations at World Cup venues, with major
upgrades already completed in Auckland and Christchurch and
construction of a new stadium in Orago on schedule.

Using ticket sales as a gauge of public confidence in the
event, Snedden said more than 500,000 had so far been
purchased, around 20 percent by overseas rugby fans.

However, he said there concerns, particularly
internationally, about New Zealand`s ability to accommodate
large numbers of overseas visitors and the prospect of price

"We are not ignoring these," Snedden said, adding that
tournament organisers were warning accommodation providers
about the dangers of overpricing and giving advice to overseas
visitors on where they could find a place to stay.

"There is absolutely no room for complacency," he said.

Prime Minister John Key also expressed concerns about
price gouging at the tournament earlier this month, warning it
risked damaging the country`s reputation as a travel

Bureau Report