Cheers to world cup
RESTAURANT and bar owners close to Eden Park are celebrating after last week’s announcement that the ground will host a total of nine games during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Thousands of tourists and locals will flock to the 60,000 seat stadium during the world cup, with the ground set to host both semifinals, the final, the playoff for third and fourth as well as five pool games, including the opening match.
Former All Black Gary Braid, who owns the Kingslander on New North Rd, is confident his bar is equipped to cope with the crowds after successfully dealing with the British Lions tour in 2005, and other All Blacks tests.
“We’ve experienced something of what it’s going to be like,” he says.
“The recovery time is going to be shorter before we get hit again.”
Mr Braid says he’d like to see New North Rd sectioned off during the cup, with a big screen and food and beverage stalls providing a party atmosphere.
“Sure traffic changes would be needed but we’re showcasing ourselves to the world,” he says.
“We’ve screamed out for the world cup for so long, you need to do it well for the people that come.”
Mr Braid could have an extra connection to the tournament with son Luke, 20, currently in the Chiefs wider training squad and a potential future All Black.
His older son Daniel, 28, also played for the All Blacks at the 2003 World Cup.
The tournament will also give Mr Braid the chance to catch up with a few rugby mates.
“I’m looking forward to the boys from overseas that I played against coming to town.”
Noel Quinlivan, owner of the Clare Inn on Dominion Rd, is also expecting some familiar faces to return to his Irish pub during the world cup.
“We are well-known from other tours. When the Lions were here we had a great week-and-a-half.”
He says during the Lions tour a marquee had to be erected at the back of the pub to cope with the numbers.
“I would say this tournament is going to have a major impact,” he says.
Horse and Trap owner Warren Stewart says prep- aration is the key when dealing with such large numbers of people at his Mt Eden bar.
“One of the major issues is transport. We’ll be indicating what times trains are going to the ground.
“From a hospitality point of view you’re looking for skilled staff.
“That takes a lot of training so we’re starting that phase now.”
Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden says it was a strategic move to have the bronze final on a Friday night and the final on a Sunday night over Labour weekend.
“It’s an opportunity to allow all those people here to enjoy Auckland and suck up New Zealand,” he says.
The semifinals and final will start at 9pm to accommodate northern hemisphere viewers, while the bronze final and weekend pool matches will kick off no later than 8.30pm.
Eden Park will also host the opening ceremony before the first match of the tournament with the All Blacks facing Tonga.
Mr Snedden says he’s confident there’ll be no hiccups with the redevelopment of Eden Park over the next two and a half years.
Bring it on: Former All Black and owner of the Kingslander Gary Braid is excited about the economic boost Rugby World Cup games will bring to businesses around Eden Park in 2011.