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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 16:45 GMT
New Zealand handed 2011 World Cup
Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern (c) welcomes the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark (r) and All Blacks captain Tana Umaga
Tana Umaga with Irish PM Bertie Ahern and NZ PM Helen Clark
New Zealand will host the 2011 Rugby World Cup after beating Japan and South Africa in an International Rugby Board secret ballot in Dublin.

South Africa were the first to be eliminated, and New Zealand then beat Japan in the second round of voting.

"Winning the right to host 2011 is an enormous honour and privilege but also an enormous responsibility," said NZ rugby spokesman Jock Hobbs.

New Zealand hosted - and won - the first World Cup in 1987.

South Africa did the same in 1995, while Japan were hoping to host the event for the first time.

"I want to acknowledge Japan and South Africa," Hobbs added. "It was a very tough day so we feel their disappointment.

The established nations pass the ball around their friends. Rugby's lost a big opportunity because of this
Yoshiro Mori
Japanese RFU chief

"We thank the IRB councillors and we won't let them down. It's a proud day to be a Kiwi."

New Zealand lost the right host the event with Australia in 2003 after a row with the IRB over stadium sponsorship.

The Kiwis, reportedly way behind the other two in the betting going into the vote, based the bid on the impact New Zealand has made on the world stage while emphasising the popularity of rugby union in the country.

International Rugby Board chairman, Syd Millar, said: "I would like to congratulate New Zealand, a great rugby nation.

"We received three excellent tenders of the highest quality. Any one of the three could have hosted a successful tournament."

Asked about the decision to go for one of the traditional rugby union countries over Japan, Millar told Five Live: "Japan have learnt a lot about themselves and bidding and I think they'll be strong contenders next time."

Japanese Rugby Football Union president, Yoshiro Mori, expressed disappointment over his nation's unsuccessful bid.

"Many people supported our goal of making rugby global," said Mori.

"We did not receive the exact vote but we think that a lot of sympathy was with New Zealand because they weren't able to host the World Cup in 2003.

"All the boys in the meeting were saying that we have to make rugby global, so why do we have to wait for another five or 10 years to make this happen?"

The South African bid, led by former captain Francois Pienaar, was rejected after the first round of voting by IRB members.

Nveleli Ncula, deputy chief executive officer for South African Rugby Football Union said: "We thought we'd done our homework, this has come as a complete shock.

"We thought we'd prepared for every eventuality, we did a very very good job.

"We had the support of the government, and we had very positive responses from the unions but in a secret ballot anything can happen."

Interview: NZRFU chief executive Chris Moller

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