Rugby World Cup: Celebs hit town

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss, Bevan Hurley, Imogen Crispe

Royalty of all stripes and colours came from around the world to be part of the final acts of the Rugby World Cup.

European royalty mingled with Hollywood glamour as the stars turned out for Rugby World Cup's semifinal double-header weekend.

Prince Albert II of Monaco arrived in Auckland by private jet on Friday with his new bride, Princess Charlene.

The newlyweds, both keen rugby fans, were expected to attend both semifinal matches before returning for the final next weekend.

They joined Kiwi expats, Hollywood stars and visiting dignitaries who arrived for the business end of the tournament.

Rachel Hunter and Martin Henderson led an army of Kiwi expats arriving at Auckland Airport.

On Friday, former supermodel Hunter stepped off a flight from Los Angeles to support the All Blacks.

"She looked stunning. She swanned in and everyone's jaws dropped," said an onlooker.

Actor Henderson, 37, who stars in Hollywood drama Off the Map, was greeted by his sister and nephews yesterday.

America's Cup skipper Sir Russell Coutts, now CEO of Oracle Racing, said he would not miss the action.

Even overseas celebrities chimed in. Kiwi-born Russell Crowe tweeted: "I hope that Australia get everything they want out of the match, everything except victory."

Hobbit actor James Nesbitt was eating lunch at Auckland restaurant Euro yesterday afternoon with fellow Hobbit actor Stephen Hunter and former England rugby player Will Greenwood.

The Irish actor, who plays Bofur in The Hobbit, said he had been enjoying the rugby and would take another break from filming to attend the final next week.

"I think it's been a great success: exciting, passionate, raucous," Nesbitt said.

Brewing billionairess Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, who is worth $8.7bn, also arrived yesterday.

A Heineken spokeswoman said de Carvalho-Heineken was attending hospitality events for the 1000 guests of the brewing company, who are mostly from the key rugby markets of Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, France and South Africa.

Nine members of the 1987 French squad, including former captain Serge Blanco, reunited for the trip to New Zealand in the hope their team would make the final.

His Serene Highness Prince Albert II is one of several International Olympic Committee members here to attend a NZ Olympic Committee centenary dinner on Thursday. The Prince is understood to be here as a guest of the IRB.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is rumoured to be coming next week.

- Herald on Sunday

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 14 Jul 2014 05:06:21 Processing Time: 800ms