31 Aug 2011

Rugby boss concerned at local response to World Cup

5:16 am on 31 August 2011

The head of the International Rugby Board says New Zealanders do not seem to realise the importance of the Rugby World Cup.

Chief executive Mike Miller says with 10 days to go until kick-off, people's attitudes are not reflecting the significance of the tournament to the country.

Ticket sales have increased slightly over the past week but about 170,000 are still available, including thousands for the opening ceremony on 9 September.

Mr Miller says ticket sales appear to be mirroring people's attitude to the tournament.

"My main concern is that you're not going to get Rugby World Cup back here for a long time. There are lots of countries around the world that want to host the Rugby World Cup, so people should take advantage of it while it's here."

Mr Miller says New Zealand appears ready for its hosting duties, with no major concerns.

Twenty teams will vie for the Webb Ellis Cup during the tournament from 9 September until 23 October.

The All Blacks play the opening match against Tonga at Eden Park, Auckland, on Friday next week.