The following is a roundup of stories from the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
All Blacks Payout
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power Plc will pay out bets on New Zealand winning rugby’s World Cup, four days before the host nation faces France in the final.
New Zealand is 1-9 to win in Auckland with Paddy Power, meaning a successful $9 bet would bring in $1 plus the original wager. The bookmaker said it will face a 650,000-euro ($900,000) payout.
The All Blacks, aiming to win the World Cup for a first time since 1987, have won all their matches at this year’s tournament and are on a 26-match winning run at Eden Park, the venue for the final.
“It’s inevitable us bookies will be taking a hammering from them on Sunday too so punters may as well collect now,” Paddy Power said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
Top-ranked New Zealand won by 20 points when the teams met Sept. 24 in a Pool A match, one of two losses for France in the group stage. The All Blacks beat France 29-9 at Eden Park 24 years ago to win rugby’s first World Cup.
Player of the Year
Four players who’ll be involved in the final were today named on the International Rugby Board’s 2011 Player of the Year shortlist.
New Zealand’s Piri Weepu, Jerome Kaino and Ma’a Nonu, and France’s Thierry Dusautoir are on the six-man shortlist along with Australia’s David Pocock and Will Genia.
The award “is the ultimate accolade for a player to receive in his career,” IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said in a statement.
The winner will be announced on Oct. 24.