2011 will see the return of the Rugby World Cup as Ireland bid to put the 2007 show piece firmly behind them. Ireland proved a huge disappointment in France three years ago but will hopefully put up a bold show in New Zealand for the 2011 renewal.
Organisers of the event have today released the times of all games including Irelands. The Emerald Isle must prepare itself for plenty of early starts given the time difference between Ireland and New Zealand. The kick-offs were always going to be early and at least one of the matches will start at 6am Irish time. Supporters will at least be afforded a lie-in, of sorts, for the make-or-break Pool C meeting with the Australians which has a later time of 9.30am.
Ireland’s first game will be against USA and former coach Eddie O’Sullivan on Sunday September 11th in New Plymouth. The match gets underway at 6 pm local time which will be 7 am Irish time. From there, it’s across the North Island to Auckland and that critical fixture with Australia at Eden Park (8.30pm local / 9.30am Irish).
Clocks in New Zealand go forward before Ireland’s first ever World Cup meeting with Russia in Rotorua, meaning that match will start at 6am start Irish time. Ireland’s final Pool C match, against Italy in Dunedin, will have an 8.30pm local start (8.30am Irish).
Hopefully by this time Ireland will have progressed to the next stage of the competition and if this is the case they will move to Wellington and a quarter-final meeting with the winners / runners-up from Pool D, most likely Wales and South Africa. Should we progress, a 6 am game will be played, Irish time.
Martin Snedden, chief executive of Rugby NZ 2011, said today he believes all the late night matches have been back as far as is reasonable to accommodate northern hemisphere television audiences. “We have achieved a good balance,” said Snedden of the kick-off times.
“If New Zealand is to make the most of the platform RWC 2011 gives us to showcase our country to the world, then we need to ensure we maximise the global television audience for key matches. The mix of match times should really contribute to the whole festival atmosphere of the tournament.”
Ireland’s 2011 Rugby World Cup fixtures (all times Irish)
Sunday, September 11th
Pool C: Ireland v USA, 6pm local / 7am Irish (Stadium Taranaki, New Plymout)
Saturday, September 17th
Pool C: Ireland v Australia, 8.30pm local / 9.30am Irish (Eden Park, Auckland)
Sunday, September 25th
Pool C: Ireland v Russia, 6pm local / 6am Irish (Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua)
Sunday, October 2nd
Pool C: Ireland v Italy, 8.30pm local / 8.30am Irish (Carisbrook, Dunedin)
Saturday, October 8th
Quarter-final: Winner Pool C v Runners-up Pool D, 6pm local / 6am Irish (Wellington)
Sunday, October 9th
Quarter-final: Winner Pool D v Runners-up Pool C, 6pm local / 6am Irish (Wellington)