United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon and British royal Zara Phillips head a host of dignitaries expected to attend the World Cup in New Zealand over the next six weeks.
Several others, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are said to be hedging their bets and will only arrive if their team makes the finals.
New Zealand Foreign Affairs officials said Wednesday all the political leaders attending this week's Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Auckland have been invited to the World Cup opening on Friday but would not confirm who is going.
The dignitaries at the forum include Ban, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, and US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides.
Other prominent guests include Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, China's Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
The 16-nation PIF summit ends a few hours before the opening World Cup match between New Zealand and Tonga and has attracted wide interest from non-member countries lobbying for Pacific island voting support at the United Nations.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said last month the "signs are looking good" Ban would be at the opener in New Zealand.
The UN leader, on his arrival in Auckland this week, showed his knowledge or rugby by likening it to the diplomatic world of the United Nations.
"In rugby, you lose teeth. In diplomacy, you lose face," he said.
"Rugby scrums confuse anyone who doesn’t know the game, including myself - so do UN debates. And sometimes they can look very similar."
He said qualities associated with rugby such as teamwork, grit and determination also proved useful in his line of work.
Virgin boss Richard Branson has confirmed he will be in New Zealand for the World Cup and Zara Phillips is expected to arrive to watch her husband Mike Tindall who is expected to captain England while Lewis Moody remains injured.
Russian billionaire Roustam Tariko plans to bring Miss Russia, Natalia Gantimurova to the rugby, his PR company reportedly said.
He is scheduled to fly into New Plymouth in his private jet to watch Russia play the United States on September 15.
The local New Plymouth newspaper has reported that either Russian President Dmitry Medvedev or Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were also being lined up to attend the game.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully has ruled out Sarkozy from the start of the tournament and said an appearance by Cameron was unlikely unless England made the final.
Cameron is due to be in Australia for a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting the weekend after the rugby ends on October 23.
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