New Zealand, despite some concerns, is ready to host the World Cup, the president of the sport's world governing body Bernard Lapasset announced.
The 63-year-old Frenchman reserved special praise for the New Zealand government for investing in the required infrastructure to cope with the influx of visitors expected for the tournament, which gets underway next Friday and runs till October 23.
"We had several worries (about whether the hosts would be ready), especially with the global economic crisis," he said.
"But New Zealand is ready and we will have a wonderful World Cup.
"There has been extraordinary government support. They have done the required work in the stadia, the roads, Auckland airport.
"We were expecting at least 60,000 foreign fans and we are definitely going to go past the 100,000 mark because there are going to be 10-20,000 extra Australian visitors."
Lapasset, who has been head of the IRB since after the 2007 World Cup which thanks to his lobbying was hosted by France, said that the target of selling 1.3million tickets could be attained.
"There were 1.6 million tickets for sale, it is not the 2.3 million that were available in 2007," said Lapasset, who is up for re-election at the end of the year.
"We are trying to reach the target of 1.3 million tickets. We are not there yet but it has picked up momentum, that has happened since the end of the Tri-Nations.
"We won't be far off the target. If we do reach the 1.3million tickets mark, those who bought tickets will not be bored.
"What we need now, are 20 teams with the ambition to play the game and deliver to the spectators what they are hoping for.
"That has always happened at a World Cup."
Lapasset, who won great praise for the manner he successfully lobbied to have rugby re-introduced as an Olympic sport, said that as far as they had been informed there would be no repeat of the fatal earthquake that hit Christchurch and claimed 181 lives in February.
"It is the founding town of rugby, the Mecca, where rugby was created in New Zealand," said Lapasset, a top class amateur player in his day.
"At a stroke everything stopped. We took time to grieve.
"The government finally announced themselves (mid March) that the fixtures due to be played there had to be moved.
"We had sold 220,000 tickets, so the people who had bought them had to be re-imbursed and put back on the market.
"The experts (seismologists) are not expecting anything as significant (during the tournament), so we are reassured by that."
Lapasset said he was expecting a very different World Cup from the previous editions.
"This will be an original World Cup.
"It will be at the same level of organisation that we have been able to put on in the past but the manner in which the New Zealanders are taking on this World Cup is extraordinary.
"When you see the fashion that the Maoris greet the teams..., you realise to what extent this World Cup counts for the country and its 4 million inhabitants."
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