Well done New Zealand
I thoroughly enjoyed the 2011 Rugby World Cup and was extremely impressed by the way the people of New Zealand embraced the spectacular event.
When we pitched for New Zealand to host the event in Dublin in 2005, one of the things Jock Hobbs and the NZRU had developed was the stadium of 4 million people. When we were making our presentation I truly believed it was going to happen and had faith in the support we would get from the New Zealand public.
While waiting the six years for the event to arrive I was eager to see how the country would turn it on but once it arrived it was easy to see we would truly deliver and surpass all expectations.
The Kiwi hospitality was amazing. I heard plenty of good stories of locals rallying around to help tourists out when they needed it and going the extra mile to make them and the visiting teams welcome. Many former international players commented to me that they thought it was the best Rugby World Cup they had been to.
An important factor of the tournament’s success was that the rugby was good and the standard of the second tier nations really appealed to the public. We could see the importance of good coaching which lifted the performance level of many of these teams, resulting from an increased standard in the level of coaching within their own countries. Spreading the wealth of knowledge around the world is good for the game.
It was great that we won but I think we had already won on a global scale before the final had kicked off. Well done New Zealand.