Rugby World Cup; Rich and famous flock to final (+photos)

By Amelia Wade

The rich and the famous are flocking to Auckland to be at the Rugby World Cup final this weekend.

Globe-trotting billionaire Richard Branson and his family - including socialite daughter Holly - are set to jet in by private plane tomorrow.

The Virgin founder, worth more than $5 billion, will arrive just in time to host a sold out star-studded dinner to raise funds for Outward Bound.

Holly, 29, is rumoured to be attending her father's dinner with her husband-to-be, shipbroker Fred Andrews.

The Branson clan will also attend the World Cup final at Eden Park on Sunday.

Also set to attend Branson's fundraising dinner is Kiwi expat and former supermodel Rachel Hunter, who arrived from Los Angeles last week in time to support the All Black at the semifinals.

Other well-known New Zealanders who are home to support the team at the final include America's Cup skipper Sir Russell Coutts and actor Martin Henderson.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was rumoured to be heading to Eden Park this weekend but his wife, Carla Bruni, is due to give birth any day, making his attendance less likely.

Last month, Prime Minister John Key said Mr Sarkozy might attend if there was an All Blacks versus France final.

"You never now, you might find his Airbus A380 parked up at Auckland Airport. Nice plane, I'm told," Mr Key said.

If Mr Sarkozy does make it to Auckland he would be hobnobbing with guests including British royals, prime ministers including John Key, Australia's Julia Gillard, Russia's Vladimir Putin and possibly Britain's David Cameron.

Other international stars have already touched down in Auckland - including Prince Albert II of Monaco and his new bride, Princess Charlene, who went to both last week's semifinals.

It has been reported that beer magnate Charlene de Carvalho-Heinekin arrived last week for the last two weeks of knock-out matches.

Hobbit star James Nesbitt said he would take a break from filming in Wellington to head up to Auckland to be at the final.

Fellow Hobbit actor Orlando Bloom might also make his way to Eden Park after catching some of Australia's pool matches with supermodel wife Miranda Kerr earlier in the tournament.

- NZ Herald

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