Rugby on your rates

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Resort could host two World Cup squads for $150,000.

Two World Cup rugby teams for the price of one – that’s the secret hope behind Queenstown Lakes District Council’s $150,000 hosting bid.

The two-for-one chance is re­­vealed by Peter Faul, director of QLDC quango Lakes Leisure, which is pitching for team-hosting rights during the 2011 event.

“There’s potential for us to host two teams, not just the one,” he says.

Hosting a second team would cost only a fraction more than one team and “I don’t necessarily know [the costs] would go up at all”, says Faul, a local businessman.

That’s because items covered by the $142,000 bid are mostly fixed costs, with no intention to fund variables like accommodation and meals.

Bid costs include security fencing for training grounds, security guards, exclusive pool and gym access, a media centre – and a dedicated LL staffer for 16 months over the next three years leading up to the big event.

A team or teams would be based in Queenstown for between four and six weeks, depending on how they fare in pool play, Faul says.

He has high hopes of success. “We’ve been given some positive comment … that we’re a strong contender.”

Game hosting was a big ask: “We were very disappointed [not to get a game] – it was always a long shot for us.”
Faul’s a tad reluctant to say which team or teams might stay here – but Mountain Scene twisted his arm.

With teams from Pool B playing matches in Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill, Argentina and the big-ticket pairing of England and Scotland, with their armies of supporters, seem logical candidates.

“We’ve heard England would be a contender,” Faul says. “We know they’re playing a lot of [pool] games in the bottom half of the South Island.”

If successful, LL’s bid will be covered by owner QLDC.

Council papers confirm that QLDC’s new 10-year financial plan, now up for public comment, allocates $150,000 for hosting Rugby World Cup teams in 2011.

It will be funded by rates – “at this stage”, say QLDC minutes.