All Blacks ready for Rugby World Cup opener

World Cup organisers yesterday expressed confidence the tournament would be a spectacular success as hosts New Zealand unveiled their starting XV for the first game against Tonga.

New Zealand All Black Sonny Bill Williams during a training session
yesterday. Pic/AFP

International Rugby Board chief Bernard Lapasset said the stage was set for "an exceptional World Cup", which will start with a glittering ceremony at Auckland's Eden Park before the All Blacks and Tonga play on Friday.

"New Zealanders and 95,000 fans from all corners of the earth will join in celebration of a tournament that will deliver not just a sporting spectacle, but a festival that will showcase alI all that is great about this passionate rugby nation," the Frenchman said.

"New Zealand is ready. The teams are ready. The fans are ready. I have no doubt that this will be a Rugby World Cup that New Zealanders and the global rugby family will be proud of."

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