Key Points:

Fletcher Construction has been given the huge responsibility of upgrading Eden Park for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The company, which built the Sky Tower, Te Papa and is nearing completion on the North Shore busway, has been provisionally appointed as the preferred contractor.

While the design, cost and funding of the project are still up in the air, construction is not due to start until August.

Behind the scenes, talks are going on for a $270 million "legacy" upgrade, a big step up from the $197 million option Fletchers, Hawkins and Mainzeal were asked to tender for.

Hawkins and Mainzeal have withdrawn from the tender process, leaving Fletchers with the job of upgrading the park to meet the International Rugby Board's requirement of a 60,000-seat stadium for the cup final.

Mainzeal Auckland area manager Martin Fahey said the decision to withdraw was based purely on the fact the company had got very busy and did not have the resources at this stage to build Eden Park.

Eden Park redevelopment board chairman John Waller said the appointment of Fletchers several weeks ahead of schedule gave the company an early opportunity to participate in the remaining design stages before demolition of the south stand started in August. Construction is due to begin next November and be finished in December 2010. The job will employ about 500 workers.

Mark Binns, chief executive of Fletchers' construction division, last night vowed to complete the job on time and budget. The company had the experience, expertise, knowledge and capacity to easily handle the job, he said.

Mr Binns told the Herald 10 days ago: "We wouldn't be putting our hand up if we thought it was going to be a failure, because this would be the worst PR disaster in Christendom if you don't make it."

Mr Waller said the board did not believe the withdrawal of Mainzeal and Hawkins would materially affect the construction cost of the project. Subcontracts accounted for 80 per cent of the value of the project and go through a competitive process, he said.