Giant rugby ball to give New Zealand tourism a boost


The wounds are red raw in the land of the wallaby following the All Blacks’ near record thumping of Australia at the weekend.

Now the New Zealanders are sending salt across the Tasman to Sydney … in the form of a giant, inflatable rugby ball.

It’s 25-metres long and will stand beside the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay from September 2 to 12, a year ahead of the 2011 World Cup in NZ, which will kick off on September 9.

“I am delighted the giant rugby ball’s final international outing will be in Australia, New Zealand’s largest international tourism market and one that will be of huge importance for next years Rugby World Cup,” New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said on Monday.

The ball, which takes five days to put together and can accommodate 220 people, will house NZ tourism, trade and industry events.

“The giant rugby ball will showcase New Zealand’s culture, landscapes and heritage to Australians to raise awareness of what’s in store for rugby fans travelling here for the tournament,” Mr Key said.

The ball, which first appeared underneath the Eiffel Tower during the French-hosted Rugby World Cup in 2007, will be in Sydney for a Bledisloe Cup clash there on September 11.

It will cost Tourism New Zealand $NZ1.4 million ($A1.12 million) to set up in Sydney.