Late kick-off times announced for Rugby World Cup

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The Independent Online

Rugby World Cup organisers have set nearly half of the games' kick off times late to maximise television audiences in Europe and South Africa.

Nineteen of the tournament's 48 matches, including the semi-finals and final, will start at 8pm local time (8am GMT) or later to allow European viewers to watch games at relatively hospitable morning hours.

"We have achieved a good balance," Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden said.

"If New Zealand is to make the most of the platform RWC 2011 gives us to showcase our country to the world, then we need to ensure we maximise the global television audience for key matches."

The All Blacks will kick off the tournament against Tonga at Auckland's Eden Park at 8.30pm (8.30am GMT) on September 9, though New Zealand will move to daylight saving time on September 25 and the October 23 final will be kickoff at 9pm (8am GMT).