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2011 Irb Rugby World Cup


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<_< YET another World Cup Buildup clanger!

The 'Webb Ellis' Cup making the rounds in NZ has been outed as the 'Stand In' cup. Still equally impressive as it is the same in make up and material.

'Old Bill' is still in europe, at Gerrads in London, getting a refurbishment and polish up before being sent to NZ on 2 Sept.

I was surprised that the Cup is 102 years old? Wow!

Fans in NZ, especially younger ones yet again feel cheated, comming on top of Jerseygate, No-Sexgate, No Christchurch, stupid theme music...

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Auckland's Skytower is getting ready to welcome to the world.

Each night in the lead up to the Opening Ceremony it will light itself up in honour of a different competing nation.


Here is a guide for Aucklanders to track which team is being celebrated when they catch a glimpse of the iconic tower each night.

Saturday, August 20 - Namibia. Green stem with a blue and red red top

Sunday, August 21 - USA. Red stem with a white and blue top

Monday, August 22 - Romania. Blue stem with a red and yellow top.

Tuesday, August 23 - Russia. Red stem with a white and blue top.

Wednesday, August 24 - Georgia. White stem with a red top.

Thursday, August 25 - Canada. Red stem with a red and white top.

Friday, August 26 - Japan. White stem with a red top.

Saturday, August 27 - Samoa. Red stem with a blue top.

Sunday, August 28 - Fiji. Light blue stem with a light blue top.

Monday, August 29 - Tonga. Red stem with a white top.

Tuesday, August 30 - Italy. Red stem with a green and white top.

Wednesday, August 31 - Argentina. Light blue stem with a light blue and white top.

Thursday, September 1 - Scotland. White stem with a dark blue top.

Friday, September 2 - Ireland. Green stem with an orange and white top.

Saturday, September 3 - Wales. White stem with a green and red top.

Sunday, September 4 - France. Blue stem with a red and white top.

Monday, September 5 - England. White stem with a red top.

Tuesday, September 6 - South Africa. Green stem with a red, blue and black top.

Wednesday, September 7 - Australia. Green stem with a gold top.

Thursday, September 8 - New Zealand. Black.

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And being Rugby World Cup, it's time for a new version of its anthem - *World in Union*

No real surprises that the honour goes to Hayley Westenra this time.

She has recorded the song in English, Maori, Italian, Japanese and French.

You can listen to the English and Maori versions here

Audio of World in Union 2011


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Also confirmed that Hayley Westenra and fellow Kiwi classical cross over artist Will Martin will perform the national anthems at the Rugby World Cup Final.

4 other vocalists are still to be confirmed for the semi finals.


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:) Half arsed effort by New Zealand in South Africa today, going down 18 - 5. A second string team. Admittedly. But still an eye opener...Australia still looks the best of the three Sanzar nations.
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:) Half arsed effort by New Zealand in South Africa today, going down 18 - 5. A second string team. Admittedly. But still an eye opener...Australia still looks the best of the three Sanzar nations.

Honestly, I don't think we can tell much in these lead-up matches - everything down to team selection is half-arsed.

Still, nice to have the door open for a Tri-Nations decider next week.

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Australia still looks the best of the three Sanzar nations.

And further - it looks like the Wallabies are doing their best to shoot themselves in their feet ahead of the WC.

World Cup bid in chaos as Wallabies brawl probed

THE Wallabies' World Cup build-up has been thrown into chaos after glamour backs James O'Connor, Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale were named last night as the key figures in an alleged altercation in Paris during last year's spring tour.

The Nine Network reported that O'Connor, who was suspended yesterday from Saturday's Tri-Nations decider against the All Blacks for his non-appearance at the World Cup squad announcement last week, was in danger of missing the World Cup entirely over his alleged involvement in a brawl in Paris with Cooper and Beale.

The Australian understands that O'Connor, Cooper and Beale all were questioned about the matter on Sunday and all denied any involvement.

However, the ARU last night revealed it was still investigating the matter.

"We are still making inquiries into allegations that surfaced in the media two days ago about an alleged incident in Paris last year," an ARU spokesman said.


The Australian

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Aussies on fire at the start of tonights crutial tri nations match..

Actually flicking tween this and the IAAF WC Opening Ceremony in which the commentary has failed. Let's hope this doesn't happen in Auckland next month.

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Australia wins Tri Nations beating NZ 25 to 20 in Brisbane tonight.

An awesome display of Rugby all round but Australia is now the confirmed favorite team for next month's tournament.

The All Blacks kind of didn't show up in the first half and had to play catch up for the rest of the game, not helped by what ended up being a really stupid error which Australia instantly capitalised on.

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I think this loss might have been deliberate by the All Blacks

The past 3 world cups they have won the Tri-Nations but lost the World Cup, how best to beat that statistic by losing the Tri-Nations and winning the World Cup

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I think this loss might have been deliberate by the All Blacks

The past 3 world cups they have won the Tri-Nations but lost the World Cup, how best to beat that statistic by losing the Tri-Nations and winning the World Cup

<_< Yeah I wouldn't play fate like that...

Prehaps the ABs wanted to feel out Australia's defence patterns and offence play.

But I doubt if Graham Henry approved of it...He looked furious at the post match interviews, a chilling reminder of 2007.

Really, Richie McAwe is to blame for last night's result. The ABs looked lost and leaderless!

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This afternoon i was drinking Richie McCaw's milk.............................

**** i wish :)

I was unfortunately only drinking a banana milk with his face on it :(


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First team arrives today, probibly the most unwelcome one, (barring Australia) Fiji.

England arrive on Wednesday.

All teams will receive a traditional Maori welcome with the exception of Team USA, after they offened Local Maori elders when team management refused a Waka voyage.

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A tired and bewildered England have just arrived in Auckland.

I suppose a full on Maori Haka welcome really isn't what one would want at 6am in the morning.

Welcome England :)

All Blacks nemesis, France, arrive this afternoon NZST.

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Well, I gotta say, the anticipation's starting to build now. The pubs in Sydney are starting to put up flag buntings outside and advertising their coverage of the games.

Is it time to start getting down to business and making some predictions?

The Pools

Group A: Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Tonga

My Picks: Hard to see NZ and France not topping this group. Should be some good matches between the remaining three, though. I suppose I'll be crossing my fingers for Canada to come third.

Group B: Argentina, England, Georgia, Romania, Scotland

My Picks: England to top the group, but an interesting tussle for second between Scotland and Argentina for second. It'd be nice to see the Argies continue the form that took them to the semis in 2007, but I think Scotland should snatch the second place. Georgia and Romania just making the numbers.

Group C: Australia, Ireland, Italy, Russia, USA

My Picks: Can't see Oz not topping the group. Tradition should favour the Irish making it through to the next rounds, but would be nice to see Italy or the USA spring an upset.

Group D: Fiji, Namibia, Samoa, South Africa, Wales

My Picks: South Africa on top. But below that, probably the most intriguing of the groups. I'd have said Wales, but then surely one of the Pacific Islanders will make the next round, and this is probably their most likely group to do so from. So I'll tip Samoa for second.

Too convoluted to try and pick the elimination match-ups. Overall, though, hte All Blacks must surely be favourites to win. But ... sheesh, the pressure must be hard on them. Anything but lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy is going to be considered failure. And, of course, the world will just be be waiting for the choke. I will, naturally, be crossing my fingers for the Wallabies, but don't wanna get hopes up too high. Apart from that, the French are always up to make a surprising splash in the Cup. My guess would be any of those three to win.

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At least to the top eight...

Argentina, Australia, England, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Samoa, South Africa.

Well that's how I see it at the moment.

Cart tippers would have to be...

Fiji, Scotland, Wales.

Surprisingly it feels surreal that the RWC is only a week away.

Outside Auckland, you would never guess.

Christchurch is probibly the reason why...Really knocked the fun out of the year losing the real home of Heartland Rugby in NZ.


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The Webb Ellis cup has arrived in NZ. The actual cup, not the travelling cup. In about eight weeks time it will probly be in Australia!

A blary eyed South Africa arrived into Wellington early this morning ready to defending the World Cup.

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Auckland seems to be looking an absolute picture from what I've seen around the net. Seems to me the buzz is starting to build.

Seems to me that the ceremonies have been starting to get abit of coverage over the last few days.

The opening ceremony is set to also feature a prominent Kiwi sportsman or woman, not saying who yet. Tipsters have Jonah Lomu, Colin Meads or possibly even David Kirk.

Rugby World Cup Ceremonies Details Revealed

The Rugby World Cup opening ceremony in Auckland will feature a special tribute to Christchurch as a mark of respect for this year's deadly earthquake and its affect on the tournament in New Zealand.

Tournament organisers today revealed details of next Friday night's ceremony at Eden Park, confirming a leading New Zealand sporting figure will be central to the event.

The 30 minute ceremony will tell the story of New Zealand and its unique place in the Pacific and represent the coming together of countries from around the world in New Zealand in pursuit of rugby's greatest prize.

A New Zealand sporting legend will also have a special role, but tournament organisers say are keeping their identity under wraps.

"Rest assured he or she will play a pivotal role in the ceremony," said Martin Snedden, CEO for Rugby New Zealand 2011.

"There will also be special recognition of Christchurch, which lost its role as a host city for RWC 2011 following February's tragic earthquake.

"As well, there will be a unique interpretation of the official tournament song World in Union featuring the combined talents of over 400 singers, in a performance that will have a special Pacific flavour.

"We promise all fans, at Eden Park, and those watching from afar, a night to remember.

"It is the perfect double bill - a spectacular Opening Ceremony, the likes of which New Zealand sports fans will not have experienced in this country, coupled with two great Pacific nations kicking off rugby's showpiece Tournament."

The All Blacks play Tonga in the first match with an 8.30pm kickoff.

The ceremony has also been masterminded by David Atkins Enterprises, which staged the opening ceremonies for the Vancouver Winter Olympics and Sydney Olympic Games.

They promise "some dazzling video projection technology not seen on such a scale before in New Zealand".

The RWC 2011 Opening Ceremony - some facts

Start time: 7.30pm Friday 9 September

Pre-show start time: 7.00pm

Duration: 30 minutes

1,000 performers

200 back stage production crew

200 back stage support volunteers

400 performers to sing World in Union

8,000 blades of flax harvested and 9.5kms of silk to be used in costumes

Also, a piece interviewing a few of the creative team

Rugby World Cup: High hopes for opening ceremony

By Rebecca Kamm

5:30 AM Saturday Sep 3, 2011


What goes into the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup? More than you'd think. Rebecca Kamm goes behind the scenes with some of the busy key players charged with bringing it all together

David Atkins

Artistic Director

Spectacular ceremonies call for experienced event production companies to deal with all the innumerable, intricate details. The RWC opening and closing ceremonies have found just that in David Atkins Enterprises, a small yet experienced team of creative practitioners that includes artistic directors, designers, writers, producers and logistical services.

As the name implies, it's headed up by David Atkins himself. But make no mistake, this company's namesake doesn't just sit back and reap the rewards. He's as hands-on as they come, monitoring almost every single detail of the ceremony's progress and making sure it all runs to plan.

And Atkins should know about plans, having hatched them for the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony, that of the Doha Asian games, and - more recently - the opening and closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

When we speak, he's just surfaced from a three-hour meeting with a television director, in which they dissected the best ways to film an event that predicts one billion viewers. No big deal.

Still, he's calm as he recounts all the wide-ranging responsibilities on his heaped plate: "I'm executive producer and also artistic director. I attend the rehearsals, work on projection, imagery, and all the scenic elements like the props - of which there are quite a few," he says. "We're monitoring those on a daily basis, looking at the final versions."

It doesn't stop there: "Tomorrow I'm in a recording session for the music. And we're just about to do a prototype testing of a big prop in a secret location very soon. Oh, and we have production meetings every few days with all the various departments. I'll be doing everything from meetings to rehearsals to testing equipment to sound, lighting and video."

The proof is in the pudding. At the end of our chat, Atkins darts off to yet another meeting. He won't take all the glory, though, quick to credit the global cast working around the clock to make it all happen: "Canada, the US, Ireland, the Middle East, the UK - we've got people from all over the globe preparing for the opening and closing ceremonies."

Moss Patterson

Associate choreographer

Orchestrating every single movement of more than 1000 volunteers, many of whom have never attempted more than a living room shuffle post-wine, must be a daunting task. Thankfully, the movers and shakers of the RWC Opening Ceremony are all being herded by one of the country's most experienced dancers and choreographers, Moss Patterson.

Director of Atamira Dance Company in his everyday life, Patterson's enthusiasm is marked, despite the obvious slog: "we're making it the most fantastic event for the World Cup," he says.

"It's been a process of auditioning thousands of people around the country. Everyone's given up their time; professional people, community people, people from executive boards putting on their shorts and shoes; and that's the most fantastic part about it. We get to work with people from all over New Zealand to create something special."

The opening ceremony goes for a full 25 minutes, and the whole thing is choreographed, he explains. "There's a constant layering of activity from start to finish, to create movement for the cast. Dance is a very important part of the show, but so are other movements; you need variety."

Patterson leads regular practices all over Auckland and throughout the week, but most take place on weekends to make an allowance for people's working lives. Closer to the opening there will be afternoon rehearsals. "The cast come in and wear a bib with a number on it and have an earpiece so they can hear what we're saying," he says. "This show's the biggest I've ever worked on. The artistic elements are incredible. What's amazing is what's been pulled together in such a short time. People have been kept inspired and that's what will bring this performance together."

Jane Holland

Head of costume

Back in April, when most of us were just beginning to hear about the RWC opening and closing ceremonies, Jane Holland was already in discussions over the minutiae of costume design.

By July, her local workroom team ("a hive of activity and energy") had already begun to bring those designs to life for more than 1000 people. Which is a more complicated process than many might imagine: "In creating garments for each performer I consider how they will interact with each other, how they will look in the environment and how they will interface with choreography, design, lighting and projection," says Holland, who has a background in feature films and television. "When the costumes are complete, we do a fitting with every performer. The costumes are then altered and checked and ready for performance."

Some of the costumes will have a strong New Zealand "flavour", she says, while others are designed with movement, lighting and projection in mind. What's more, costumes have been designed for each different section of the ceremony.

"Fabrics and construction are the key to successful costumes," she says. "It's often a hunt to get the right thing, but worth it in the end. And the quality and speed of the work produced by my costume workroom team is amazing. They do beautiful work."

Mike Mizrahi

Event producer

The 12-minute firework and lighting spectacular that will flow directly from the opening ceremony at Eden Park is called Opening Night. The creative force behind Opening Night is an events and production company called Inside Out Productions. And, in charge of both is a man by the name of Mike Mizrahi, the renowned New Zealand events maestro responsible for such happenings as the New Zealand millennium celebrations and Louis Vuitton's giant 150th birthday trunk.

Mizrahi's not resting on his reputation or laurels, though. His schedule's as packed as the celebrations he's busy planning: "Yesterday we drove to Karaka to have a meeting with members of Ngati Paoa tribe to ask if we could use their beautiful waka to feature in the show," he says.

"Today we climbed all over the Rapaki - a floating crane at the Maritime Museum that will play a significant role in the show. We discussed rigging, lighting, and special effects and worked out how to get the most out of the location and the shot."

It didn't stop there: "We then met with TV executives ... and discussed what could [potentially] go wrong with the live broadcast, looking at ways to mitigate any risks."

Afterwards, Mizrahi met with members of the waka party to look at how to cue them into position for the cameras. Back at the office, he dealt with fireworks logistics, working with Ports of Auckland to solve "loading issues".

As Mizrahi points out, it's a citywide show and comprehensive rehearsals would simply give the game away. Plus, the budget for doing something like the fireworks show twice would be stratospheric. All of which makes meticulous planning absolutely crucial: "We are literally shooting from the hip," he says.

"This is a really gutsy, creative collaboration; turning straw into gold. We've been working on this all year. It might seem impossible, but it's true!

"You would be amazed at what goes into these big jobs: the logistics, compliance, insurance, scheduling, budgeting, rigging. As they say, 10 per cent inspiration, 90 per cent perspiration."

Martin Van Teil


Under way right now are preparations for the biggest pyrotechnics display in New Zealand since the millennium, says RWC Opening Night pyrotechnician Martin Van Teil.

To narrow it down some, that's 7000 pyrotechnic effects, courtesy of 3500kg of pyrotechnics and 14 tonnes of equipment.

Where on earth would you even start? On a pretty official level, apparently.

Rather than undisturbed tinkering with pretty colours and cool shapes, "the day-to-day is ensuring the paper logistics of this production are well communicated and comply with organisations like the Auckland Council, Fire Service, harbourmaster, coast guard, civil aviation, police, OSH, EPA, and DoC," says Van Teil.

Bureaucracy aside, the 12-minute display will be part of a combined music, lighting, flame and pyrotechnics display, and the fireworks expert is amped.

"We've designed a wide range with New Zealand-inspired themes, based around pohutukawa and kowhai flowers," he says, going on to explain we can look forward to huge aerial star shells, yellow cascading flowers, delayed bursts of green leaves, silver ponga trees and Kiwi forms in golden willows - and that's not the half of it.

It's a long road to firework nirvana: Van Teil has a PhD in chemistry, a B.Sc in chemistry and physics, and his experience with explosives goes back 30 years (you can thank his company Van Teil Pyrotechnics for most of Auckland's large fireworks displays).

The complexity of the RWC display demands such experience: as the crucial moments draw nearer, computer checks and "the programming of the thousands of cues required to choreograph fireworks to music" will take centre stage. Then, the ultimate prize: "showcasing New Zealand pyrotechnics globally."

Opening schedule

4pm: Te Herenga Waka fleet arrival.

4.40pm: Dave Dobbyn and band at Queens Wharf.

5pm: Kaihoe procession and mass haka.

5.55pm: Mayoral welcome followed by haka.

6.10pm: The Finn Brothers concert headline act.

7.30pm: Opening Ceremony from Eden Park live on waterfront big screens.

8pm: Sound and Light Show.

8.15pm: Opening Match between New Zealand and Tonga live from Eden Park on waterfront big screens.

10.15pm: Live performances by Dane Rumble, Midnight Youth, Kora and DJ Manuel Bundy until Queens Wharf closes at 2am.

Check www.auckland2011.com and www.rugbyworldcup.com

Who's Who Behind The Scenes

Opening Ceremony at Eden Park

David Atkins: Artistic Director/Executive Producer

Merryn Hughes: Producer

Robyn Rawstone: Director of design

Shona McCullagh: Director of choreography

Victoria Kelly: Director of music

Jon Baxter: AV content director

Michael Reid: Associate artistic director/producer

Drew Anthony: Associate artistic director Opening Night at the waterfront

Marie Adams and Mike Mizrahi: Event producers

Martin Van Tiel: Fireworks

Don McGlashan: Music Composer

David Eversfield: Lighting designer

Jason Durey: Special effects

Facts and figures

Operations: 40,000 glowsticks, 2000m of safety tape, 5000 ponchos and 40 litres of sunscreen

Costumes: 8000 blades of flax, 9.5km of silk

Performers: 19 nationalities, with the Auckland Philharmonia, pipe bands, marching girls, fire poi and flame throwers, drummers, kapa haka, drag queens, Chinese dragons and more

And a few pics of Auckland via the guys at skyscrapercity




Scotland's night




All Blacks are welcomed into Auckland


Getting ready for *All Lit Up*


Auckland with the Cloud


As for Australia. Well, I certainly wasn't jumping the gun when the Blacks well outplayed them in Auckland, likewise the other way round in Brisbane. To be honest, I think the Wallabies are being over rated a tad from just playing 40 minutes of excellent rugby. They were shunted around the park in the second half in Brisbane, and were awful in Auckland - they weren't that amazing in the Republic either. Now, I still think they are the top 2 teams and *should* be in the final with the AB's, but really, they haven't done that much.

I still don't rate the AB's the out and out favourites either, but I have no idea how all of a sudden some people in the media are trying to make out that Nz got the raw end of the coaching deal with Ted - and us having *lost* Deans. He's certainly a great coach, but I'd rather have the win loss table of Henry going in to this World Cup.

Will be a good tournament for sure . I personally think it could be the tournament where Nonu and Smith will be tossed into the headlights of much of the international rugby public. They're the combination that plays second fiddle to the awesome Carter/McCaw pairing, but these boys are good.

Loving the way Auckland is looking, quite impressed with their whole unified World Cup image. You really get the feeling that as a supercity, this is Auckland's Olympics , if you like. We're also seeing one good function of the Supercity coming in to play, some professional work on urban development.

Looking forward to the Opening Ceremony, looks to be a good on, already seeing a few sneak peaks from people in the Eden Park area.

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:mellow: Auckland's best effort? Prehaps...Considering Martin Sneddon always wanted this city to host as many games as possible and was secretly gleefull when Christchurch was removed from the equation.

I just don't like the focuss that Auckland is getting over these last few weeks and now days. Rugby officials seem to forget that the rest of New Zealand is hosting the event as well.

...And IMO :huh: , I hope Martin Sneddon NEVER is allowed to be CEO of an event like this again, he simple had that cynical Aucklander attitude of 'the glass half empty' thing about him.

At least the next big sport event in this country, Cricket WC 2015, is being managed from Australia.

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At least the next big sport event in this country, Cricket WC 2015, is being managed from Australia.


:mellow: Auckland's best effort? Prehaps...Considering Martin Sneddon always wanted this city to host as many games as possible and was secretly gleefull when Christchurch was removed from the equation.

I just don't like the focuss that Auckland is getting over these last few weeks and now days. Rugby officials seem to forget that the rest of New Zealand is hosting the event as well.

...And IMO :huh: , I hope Martin Sneddon NEVER is allowed to be CEO of an event like this again, he simple had that cynical Aucklander attitude of 'the glass half empty' thing about him.

Well, Auckland was always gonna be the major focus - gateway for most visitors, opener and final host. Looks good, and getting a lot of attention here to.

Can't wait to see the tower in Green and Gold!

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Well, Auckland was always gonna be the major focus - gateway for most visitors, opener and final host. Looks good, and getting a lot of attention here to.

Can't wait to see the tower in Green and Gold!


Of course Rols, you would rather it be Tokyo...nah not letting that one go. :P

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Well, for what's its worth, I think Sneds has done a fantastic job thus far, of course, full judgement could only be made after the final whistle of the final - anything else, would be unfair.

And it's always the case in the World Cup - Sydney entirely dominated the final stages and lead up to 2003, and Paris in 2007. Perhaps not so much in some of the Northern tournaments because of the entirely disjointed host allocation of matches.

In some more news, the singers of the national anthems in both semi finals have been announced.

Elizabeth Marvelly, Nick Afoa, Ainslie Allen and Jonathan Lemalu.

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It's Martin Sneddon's demeanor that bugs me...

Yes Sydney and Paris were the focal point of the previous WCs, but Union is a minor sport in those countrys. NZ, it's the NATIONAL game.

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