NZ PM hopes for RWC win, McCaw knighthood - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZ PM hopes for RWC win, McCaw knighthood

09/08/2011 11:25:33 AM Comments (0)

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key hopes Richie McCaw gets a knighthood if he steers the All Blacks to victory at the Rugby World Cup.

And he says the "dream scenario" would be an All Blacks versus Wallabies final -- "with a substantial All Black victory".

Mr Key was speaking on Tuesday ahead of the first of a regular series of media briefings on preparations for the Rugby World Cup, which starts in a month's time.

He said there was "massive pressure" on captain McCaw and his All Blacks team, but that pressure was there because New Zealanders wanted them to win desperately.

"That team is a great team, personally I think they're going to win," he said.

"I think McCaw's a great captain. I think at home with a huge amount of support and massive amount of bench strength and a team that's very, very focussed, I think we're going to get there."

Asked if there was an honour in it for McCaw if the All Blacks won, Mr Key said he hoped so.

"Can't think of anything more joyous than Sir Richard McCaw," he said.

World Cup ticket sales were going well and there was a big rise in demand from overseas, particularly from Australia.

Mr Key was not at Eden Park on Saturday night, when the All Blacks beat the Wallabies 30-14 to retain the Bledisloe Cup, but said people were for the most part happy with the way the stadium performed.

"The stadium, I hear, looks absolutely magnificent when it's full of people," he said.

"In the end you're still dealing with getting 55,000 -- up to 65,000 people with the final -- in and out of a residential area that isn't serviced by the best public transport in the world.

"So I think transport authorities have done a good job, police have done a good job, everything seems to us to be on track."

Mr Key said he got a real sense of excitement at the opening of the new Dunedin stadium on Friday.

"You had a sense, if you closed your eyes, of what it might feel like with 35,000 people in it."

He did notbelieve the outcome of the World Cup would have an impact on the national election.

"In the end, I think when people go to the polling booth on November 26 they'll be voting on the economy, law and order, health and education -- they are the critical issues that most New Zealanders reflect on."

Mr Key said there was no question New Zealanders would feel better if the All Blacks won the cup, but there was "a big separation" between the success of the All Blacks and the government of the day.

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