- Rugby World Cup tickets go on sale at 10pm tonight (BST)
- England Rugby Travel reports 40 per cent increase in sales
Photo: Getty Images
Tickets for the Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand go on sale at 10pm (BST) tonight (Monday), 500 days before the tournament opens on Friday, September 9.
With just hours to go until applications open to supporters, the organisers have already received over 50,000 pre-registrations from more than 100 countries and fans are urged to get in early or risk missing out.
Record numbers of England fans have already secured their seats at the greatest rugby tournament in the world, thanks to Official Travel Agent England Rugby Travel, prompting former England fly half and Rugby Football Union Elite Rugby Director Rob Andrew to praise the growth of the event and the interest from fans.
"The growth and expansion of Rugby World Cup in the last 20 years is just extraordinary," said Andrew, who played in the inaugural Rugby World Cup 1987 and in 1991 and 1995.
"Rugby World Cup has now taken off to such an extent that each one has got bigger and bigger in terms of the number of people travelling, the event itself and the interest from the pool phase right the way through to the final."
Andrew, who ranks third in England’s all time Rugby World Cup points scorers list, added: "It’s that feeling of ‘this is my team and I’m here, I want to be here’, because if you didn’t go and you missed out on something as special as what can happen at any Rugby World Cup, it never comes back.
"The tournament in Australia 2003 developed the level of support from England fans to a different level, and that was continued in France 2007, and now New Zealand looks like being a once in a life time experience that fans want to be part of."
England Rugby Travel has reported a 40 per cent increase in sales of official travel packages over the same period for Rugby World Cup 2007 in France. Most fans have chosen one of three popular packages: the quarter finals to final; England v Scotland in the pool stages through to the final; and the semi finals to final.
High demand from England fans
Photo: Getty Images
The demand from England fans in the opening six weeks of sales for the Rugby World Cup 2011 travel programme has been very positive and the number of visitors to the official England Rugby Travel website has increased by 22 per cent since packages went on sale six weeks ago.
For more information visit the dedicated 2011 Rugby World Cup pages on the England Rugby Travel website or call 0844 788 5000.
For those planning to make their own travel arrangements and hoping to secure tickets, applications open online on the Rugby World Cup website from 10pm tonight (0900 NZ time, April 27) and close on Friday, May 21.
Tickets will be sold in three phases, beginning with venue and team pool packs. Phase two in August/September involves individual ticket sales. Ballots will be held for tickets to the semi finals and final in the third phase near the end of 2010.
Nearly 700,000 page views have been registered on the ticket information section of the tournament’s official website as fans look to digest details ahead of the worldwide application process going live.
"Global excitement for this, the seventh Rugby World Cup, is already reaching fever pitch," said Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"This week rugby fans from all around the world will be able to apply for Rugby World Cup 2011 tickets and look forward to experiencing a tournament that will celebrate rugby at its best and showcase New Zealand’s wonderful hospitality and heritage."
The strong initial interest from global fans underlines news last week that 85,000 tickets have been sold already through official travel packages.
"This is a fantastic response and shows how popular Rugby World Cup has become around the world," said Martin Snedden, CEO for Tournament Organiser, Rugby New Zealand 2011 (RNZ 2011).
Tuesday also marks 500 days until the opening match between hosts New Zealand and Tonga at Auckland’s impressive Eden Park Stadium, which is due to reopen ahead of schedule later this year following an exciting redevelopment programme.
"We are celebrating this day by bringing the Rugby World Cup, the Webb Ellis Cup, to Wellington for a special public appearance," said Snedden. "We hope fans take the opportunity to get up close to rugby’s greatest prize and take away a wonderful memory."
A full list of all the tournament fixtures is available on the match schedule section of the Rugby World Cup website.