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RWC: A 'giant' semi-final awaits
« on: October 13, 2007, 07:17:28 PM »

A 'giant' semi-final awaits
(Rugby News Service) Saturday 13 October 2007
By Julien Lamotte

From Issy-les-Moulineaux

PARIS, 13 October - All over France people are getting excited about the IRB Rugby World Cup semi-final between the host nation and England at Stade de France on Saturday with the host cities planning to broadcast the match on big screens to bring together as many spectators as possible.
 
The world cup in France has been a huge success, the French victory last Saturday against New Zealand only increasing fans' enthusiasm for the tournament. The number of spectators who flock to the big screens on match days is proof of the rugby craze that has taken the country by storm.

Even more spectators are expected to show up in front of the giant screens for the first semi-final, bringing fans together and turning the areas surrounding the big screens into places to celebrate and share rugby memories.
 
With the exception of Lens, all the host cities have had big screens available since the beginning of the world cup. Though some have kept their screens in the same place since the start, other cities, such as Paris, have moved their screens, mainly for security reasons.

Paris will not be broadcasting the match at the Hotel de Ville as it has been doing up to this point, but will instead set up its big screen on the Champs de Mars where more than 60,000 fans are expected to watch the match at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
 
Many English fans who weren't lucky enough to get tickets to the semi-final are expected to be mingling with their French counterparts. Especially in Saint-Denis, just minutes away from the Stade de France, where the match will be taking place. The big screen (21m²) installed at the Rugbycolor Village should bring together 10,000 people who all want to get closer to the match atmosphere.
 
Exceeding expectations
 
The number of fans expected to watch the semi-final on the giant screens should exceed those for the quarter-final between France and New Zealand. "That's just as you'd expect, the end of the tournament is approaching and the whole country is behind its team," event organisers from Bordeaux said.

Organisers expect the record of 15,000 people counted last Saturday at the quai des Chartrons in Bordeaux to be broken this weekend. The same goes for Toulouse, where a second big screen has been installed at the Place du Capitole to get ready for all the fans - 20,000 Toulousains were present at the Prairie des Filtres for the victory of the Bleus against the All Blacks.
 
Marseille, whose love for rugby has been proven time and time again, has also made some changes to its programme in anticipation of the crowds that will be flocking to the big screens. The city will no longer be setting its screen up at the Prado beach, but instead at Cours Estienne d’Orves, which can hold up to 30,000 spectators.

Other host cities, like Saint-Etienne, are bringing the main event back to the city centre (Place Chavanelle) after having delegated the responsibility of broadcasting previous matches to neighbouring cities
 
Organisers in Lyon, expecting 4,000 fans, have installed an inflatable big screen measuring 10m x 6m at the Place Bellecour.

Another famous square, Place de la Comédie in Montpellier will be broadcasting the match for a crowd which should exceed the 11,000 fans present for the quarter-final between France and New Zealand.

People in Nantes have a choice of three big screens at Terre plein de l’île Gloriette, place du Bouffay, Square Jean Baptiste Daviais.

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