RugbyU: New Zealanders lukewarm about World Cup

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The Independent Online

Barely one third of New Zealanders are enthusiastic about the Rugby World Cup, a mere five weeks out from the sport's global showpiece, said a survey released on Tuesday.

A nationwide online poll found only 37 percent were looking forward to the tournament, 35 percent were not, and the remainder had no feelings either way.

The figures were skewed by a marked lack of enthusiasm in the largest South Island province of Canterbury which has been devastated by a series of earthquakes over the past 11 months, pollsters UMR Research said.

Seven World Cup games scheduled for Canterbury were moved away when AMI Stadium in the main city of Christchurch was rendered unusable due to quake damage.

The Canterbury result suggested "they are feeling left out after games were moved away from Christchurch", the survey said.

The September 9-October 23 tournament will be the largest event ever staged in New Zealand, with 85,000 overseas fans expected to attend.

The poll, conducted in early July, had a 3.4 percent margin of error.