International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset has expressed firm confidence that the World Cup in New Zealand this year will be a success.
Lapasset was in Auckland today for the unveiling of the uniform to be worn by volunteers and other core staff during the 6-1/2-week tournament in September and October.
With 218 days to go before kickoff, the Frenchman said preparations were further advanced than at the same stage before the 2007 event, of which he was chairman of the organising committee.
“I am very confident about the success of the tournament,” he said.
“We have a good result in terms of the forecast, and the ticketing process is in place.”
Lapasset said whatever issues that were outstanding were not serious ones and there was time to resolve them.
He also said no other aspect was more critical to the successful delivery of a major sporting event than the volunteers.
“It is the very heartbeat of the Rugby World Cup.”
The uniform was launched by Prime Minister John Key at the North Shore Rugby Club, with Key also getting kitted out and doing a brief sashay down the runway along with some of the volunteers.
The gear consists of a jacket, polo shirt, rugby jersey and trousers, and features the tournament’s mangopare and koru designs, as well as the silver fern.
Key said all New Zealanders had a role to play in providing a top experience for cup visitors, but the volunteers and core staff, dubbed Team 2011, were at the forefront.
That workforce will number about 7000, of which more than 5000 would be volunteers.
So far, tournament organisers have received more than 12,000 applications from people wanting to be a volunteer.