LIVE coverage of all Rugby World Cup news and action on and off the field. Refresh your page for the latest updates.
Day one is over. Well, almost. It would seem there'll still be a a lot of work to do dealing with the crowds and transport in downtown Auckland. But the important stuff (the action on the field) has finished with the All Blacks beating a very impressive Tongan side, which will feel they definitely had the better of New Zealand for long patches of the second half.
Thanks very much for joining us here, and wherever you are, we hope you got through the first day safely and enjoyed the show.
As the game draws to a close, here are a selection of tweets outlining the state of downtown Auckland, collected by Nik Dirga:
Crowds of drunk hoods on the streets now in downtown auckland - looks more like new years
Never seen auckland like this - Downtown is a jungle - thousands of people #rwc
has all of Auckland arrive in downtown yet?
Daym am I the only one not downtown right now?
Anna G. Connell
All I hope for tonight is that we behave like a grown up city and not a village of drunken munters.
Troy Rawhiti-Forbes has reported that some families have been leaving Eden Park early, presumably to beat the post-game rush. I just hope no-one missed that Tonga try.
Auckland City Police have just released a statement advising people on the state of transport after the match. You may have to re-think your plans (if you had any). The advice from the Police is as follows:
Given the earlier and ongoing disruptions to public transport (ferries, trains and buses), and in the interests of public safety people are advised not to return to downtown/the Queens Wharf unless they absolutely have to.
If Eden Park patrons had a travel plan in place before tonight, think about revising it and perhaps use alternative means to get home safely - ie walk with a group of friends or pay a little more money and use a taxi.
The city is full of revellers - some of whom are less well-behaved than others - and anyone who doesn't need to return to the city should stay away from it after the rugby match finishes.
Here's a video with some highlights from the opening ceremony. Still can't say enough about Jonah's suit. But seriously, what an impressive start to an event that we've all been waiting so long for.
It's halftime, so sit back, ignore the ads on the telly and take a look at our player profile on Brad Thorn. He talks about how World Cup rugby compares to his league and Crusader experiences.
We've got a gallery up showcasing the opening ceremony in all its glory. How good was Jonah's suit? The big guy looked sharp.
Take a look at some of the images that have made up the first day of the Rugby World Cup here.
As the game starts nzherald.co.nz's Troy Rawhiti-Forbes reports from Eden Park:
Auckland couple Terry and Tina spoke to nzherald.co.nz from the south stand, where they quickly predicted victory for the All Blacks.
However, they had a harder time seeing eye to eye on the score.
"They'll want to make a statement" said Terry, who predicted a 62-12 victory for the All Blacks who were beaten by Australia in the Tri-Nations decider.
Tina disagreed with her husband, saying his prediction was a "doozy" and the result would be much closer.
"35-20, I'd say.
"But it's a guess."
The teams are on the field. Wherever you are in the country, brace yourself for the kick-off of Rugby World Cup 2011. We're minutes away from a very special moment. Head here for our live game coverage.
nzherald.co.nz's Nik Dirga has compiled a selection of tweets from people who've had, shall we say, less than satisfactory experiences with public transport in Auckland today:
'train services to Eden Park Auckland have stopped because patrons are pulling emergency cord, many may not get 2 game'
'Stuck on a train at Newmarket for 20 mins now and 15 more to go apparently. Good work Auckland Transport you planned this s__t well.'
'Did anybody seriously think the trains would work properly in Auckland?'
'Been at the kingsland train station for an hour, NO TRAIN WILL LET ME ON. nice work, Auckland Transport!'
'Train stuck on tracks in front of britomart for past half hour or so. V intense atmosphere, feel like I'm in subway scene of disaster film'
'Oh my god! Riot material in queen st! People walking on tracks in britomart! Heading home with 4 kids. Need quiet'
'Train sitting on track b4 britomart 4 over 20min now, which I expectd. What I didnt expect is the lady with vuvuzuela, thought every1 h8 'em'
'At britomart aftr 2 hrs on train with these 700 people from kingsland stop. Gr8 job on public transport National, really'
'Britomart train station turning out to be total chaos and no empathy for the confusion that reigns.'
Fireworks have started all over the central city and Auckland waterfront! Three tonnes of them! This is going to be amazing.
We're hearing more about public transport frustration. Passengers are reportedly outraged by train issues and stoppages and are walking on the tracks from Britomart.
Here's the latest on the accident near Auckland's waterfront. There is more to come.
Back to Eden Park now, where the opening ceremony is off to a spectacular start, and the All Blacks have arrived to the sounds of massive cheers around the entrance as they drive past.
Some truly horrible news is coming in about an accident involving pedestrians on Auckland's Fanshawe Street, near the waterfront. We'll try and bring you some more information soon.
If you're looking at making this World Cup not only enjoyable, but profitable, take a look at this story outlining some of the odds. The All Blacks are clear favourites, and no strangers to that title, but can they deliver this time? We'll find out in about six weeks. Can't wait.
Troy's making friends in the stands now, as he writes:
"Dave Boylan travelled from Ireland via China to attend tonight's World Cup opener, and he brought good news with him.
"The experience has been very positive," he said.
"The hotel didn't raise their rates, and I wasn't scammed by taxi drivers."
He said the trip cost him over five thousand euro, and after tonight's match he will see France play Japan and then his countrymen's clash with the United States.
He said he expected that match, to be played on September 11, to be very emotional.
nzherald.co.nz's man on the scene Troy Rawhiti-Forbes, has let us know how things are developing at Eden Park, he writes:
"Fans could not have asked for a better night to witness opening night at Eden Park.
The stands are full of excited chatter as spectators take their seats.
In the west stand splashes of red begin to spread across the seats - the Tongan fans are here in large numbers.
Directly opposite them, an "All Blacks!" chant rings out before impromptu haka performances. At the south end, a man painted head-to-toe in red poses for a group of photographers."
USA head coach Eddie O'Sullivan has announced his team to play their opening Pool C match against Ireland at Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth on Sunday, 11 September. Just in time Eddie, I don't think anyone would have listened if you announced it around, say, 8.30pm this evening.
1. Mike MacDonald 2. Phil Thiel 3. Shawn Pittman 4. John van der Giessen 5. Hayden Smith 6. Louis Stanfill 7. Todd Clever (c) 8. Nic Johnson 9. Mike Petri 10. Roland Suniula 11. James Paterson 12. Andrew Suniula 13. Paul Emerick 14. Takudzwa Ngwenya 15. Blaine Scully
16. Chris Biller 17. Matekitonga Moeakiola 18. Scott LaValla 19. Pat Danahy 20. Tim Usasz 21. Nese Malifa 22. Colin Hawley
And here's the place to be for our live coverage of the opening ceremony. Enjoy the show.
Police are reportedly trying to get Auckland Transport to close lower Queen Street, which is being mobbed by exuberant fans.
Once again, we will have updates via CoveritLive of the opening ceremony and the All Blacks-Tonga clash from 7pm. A great place to listen to the game online is at radiosport, but that audio is for within New Zealand only.
Fans heading to Eden Park were told to be in their seats by 7pm. Footage via OneNews shows that it is already a quarter full.
Hayden Donnell, our man at Eden Park, says: "The guy who denied entry to the IRB chief executive let us through the gate. No questions asked".
"It's a very male dominated world in the rugby writers media centre," he says.
Just to confirm our coverage of all the action tonight...we will have updates via CoveritLive of the opening ceremony and the All Blacks-Tonga clash from 7pm.
We'll also have all the latest images from the opening ceremony and the on-field action followed by video highlights not long after the final whistle.
Live updates right here will continue throughout the night.
nzherald.co.nz's Hayden Donnell and Troy Rawhiti-Forbes are on the media bus to Eden Park and will provide updates from the ground on the opening ceremony.
"There is a drunk Australian journalist yelling about congestion in the seat ahead of us. On the road beside, strangers are hugging. It's the Rugby World Cup!"
We've just had word that the traffic around Eden Park is very light indeed. It looks like people have heeded the warnings and kept away from the motorways. Well done traffic people. I'm afraid it's a different story for ferries.
If you fancy yourself as a tipping maestro, head here to test your skills against a group of celebrities' picks. The stars include Tana Umaga, Buck Shelford and Cameron McMillan (?).
Just in case you were in any doubt about this tournament being a big deal, Time's online presence is running a story on it.
We're getting unconfirmed reports that Kaikoura's giant lobster has been painted black! Wait... we can confirm it. Lobster Inn manager Neil Pablecheque has said the 'Paint It Black' lobster was a great way for Kaikoura to show it was cheering on the All Blacks.
All Auckland ferry services have been cancelled due to overloading at the viaduct.
It's not just Dobbo and and the Finns providing the soundtrack to the All Blacks' World Cup. Here's Scribe and P-Money channelling Jay Z with 'All Black Everything'. You can hear Scribe turn the word 'Nonu' into a verb. Skills.
Queen Street is a scene of joyful, raucous mayhem right now, with traffic at a near-standstill as groups of fans stage impromptu parades up the street. Tongan and All Blacks flags are everywhere, along with an awful lot of honking car horns.
Our readers have been sending us their Rugby World Cup photos, and they're just wonderful. Have a look through them here and make sure you get your own in.
Italian winger Mirco Bergamasco has spoken about being his side's first-choice place kicker at a press conference:
"I don't kick every weekend like Dan Carter (NZL) or Jonny Wilkinson (ENG), but I'm happy to be first-choice kicker for Italy. We have a lot of good goal-kickers in the team; Luciano Orquera, Tommaso Benvenuti and also Riccardo Bocchino."
He also let slip that Italy might not be on the look out for a quick tap if they get a penalty in the opposition half:
"If we have a penalty kick it is important that I kick it because the team has worked to put us in that position and it is a chance to score points."
The Bay of Plenty Times has some touching messages of support for the All Blacks from some of the Bay's prominent people, including Dame Susan Devoy. There's also a nice poem in there, even if some of it doesn't rhyme (that's what poems are meant to do right?).
Here's our video player profile on Mils Muliaina. He's such a nice bloke, even if he does drop a cheeky expletive at 35 seconds in. His love for the black jersey is obviously so strong, he must be absolutely itching to get in ahead of Dagg next time.
In a massive case of 'don't you know who I am?!', here's a story about head of the IRB, Mike Miller being turned away by security at Eden Park. The photo of him with the guard in question is so full of tension. Wonderful stuff.
We have a World Cup WAGs photo gallery. Perhaps if you're in a queue waiting for transport in Auckland you could spend a bit of time checking it out.
Ok, we'll take a quick break from Party Central chaos and Auckland transport woe to point you toward our video player profile on Richard Kahui. He is playing in a rugby game this evening, after all.
More bad Auckland transport news coming in to us here. We've had reports that the Eastern line is having a lot of trouble between Orakei and Mt Wellington, with hundreds waiting, and some trains not stopping.
Reports are coming in that the queue for city bound ferries at the Devonport terminal in Auckland is over 300m long and the queue into Birkenhead wharf is about 150m long....all dressed in black.
nzherald.co.nz's Paul Harper managed to get inside the wharf complex before it was closed to the public, and said there would be great disappointment felt by the people still waiting outside.
He said the queue to get in was "incredible" but had concerns for children inside.
"There are lots of kids getting squashed around.
"It's not been very well organised by police or security."
Queens Wharf is closed! They're not letting anyone else in (especially Australian supporters) It's absolutely packed.
In case you were thinking about turning up to Eden Park tonight with an umbrella, while drinking out of a bottle and wearing a high-visibility jacket, while waving a branded banner and a stick longer than 80cm, while playing any musical instrument (including vuvuzelas) and using a radio transmitting device, while carrying part of your car while roller-blading...
Forget about it.
All of those things are forbidden (individually and collectively).
We've got a transport update for you here: NewstalkZB are reporting that trains in Auckland are currently running about 12 minutes later than scheduled, and Auckland's World Cup Operations hub says the Northern Busway is also extremely busy.
We've just had word that security are turning people away from Wynyard Quarter. It's full. Wow.
Maths time. Perfect weather + everybody in a good mood + people let out of work early = Auckland central city going off like yoghurt in the sun. We've just popped downtown, and the party has well and truly started.
Officials are advising people going to the matches to remember that cash is king, because if you're without cash or a MasterCard, you're without luck too.
Here's a very handy resource to keep an eye on the weather for every single game of the Rugby World Cup. Cheers Metservice! And double cheers to the happy looking chap on the right hand side of that page.
If you were hoping to get your hands on a ticket for tonight's Eden Park extravaganza, you're bang out of luck. We've just heard it's officially sold out.
We've got some seriously cool All Black player profile videos. In this one Piri Weepu talks about where he got his manners and his outstanding haka skills from.
This just in -we've heard reports of massive crowds at Albany bus station on Auckland's North Shore. We can't confirm just how long the delays are just yet, but the reports we're getting state there might be around 500 people waiting there. Yikes.
Scotland coach Andy Robinson has just let slip some of Scotland's most important tactical ploys going into their opening game against Romania tomorrow:
"Score more points than the opposition. The aim for us is to win the game and the rest of it takes care of itself."
Very complex approach Andy.
Everyone seems to be in party mode today, but is Mother Nature feeling the same way? Here's our weather analyst Philip Duncan bringing all the meteorological information you need for the opening weekend. Extra kudos goes to Philip for his attire. Looks like he robbed a museum.
Here's the schedule of events down at Queens Wharf Party Central. Gates are open at 3pm, and everyone's favourite Yoda lookalike will be performing at 4.40pm. It's shaping up to be a big one, with everything shutting down around 2am.
I thought flash mobs were meant to be kept secret from the public and, especially, the media. But this haka flash mob almost had more cameras in attendance than participants. Methinks someone let the haka out of the bag.
Italy have named their team to play their opening match in Pool C against Australia at North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, on Sunday, 11 September.
1. Andrea Lo Cicero 2. Leonardo Ghiraldini 3. Martin Castrogiovanni 4. Carlo del Fava 5. Cornelius van Zyl 6. Alessandro Zanni 7. Robert Barbieri 8. Sergio Parisse (c) 9. Fabio Semenzato 10. Luciano Orquera 11. Mirco Bergamasco 12. Gonzalo Garcia 13. Gonzalo Canale 14. Tommaso Benvenuti 15. Andrea Masi
16. Tommaso D'Apice 17. Lorenzo Cittadini 18. Marco Bortolami 19. Paul Derbyshire 20. Edoardo Gori 21. Riccardo Bocchino 22. Luke McLean
Just a quick heads up if you park your car in the big Durham Street building in Auckland city - Tournament Parking have gone all World War II on us by rationing spots. Read about it here.
Some of the Herald experts have gazed into their crystal balls to give you all kinds of Rugby World Cup predictions. I particularly like David Leggat's pick for 'flop' of the tournament... as long as the All Blacks aren't involved in any way.
I put this up yesterday, but I think it definitely bears repeating. Be aware of those road closures and train times. If you're heading to the game, be prepared, get there in time and enjoy yourself, you lucky so-and-so.
Here's a gallery of some fan photos that have been coming in. Very cute stuff indeed, but my favourite is definitely the hairy chap on the couch with remote control at hand (paw).
Over to the Hawke's Bay Today now, where opinion columnist Eva Bradley has attempted to turn a nation against her, by admitting to having a ticket to a Rugby World Cup game and not giving a damn. I'll give Eva points for bravery. At least it's not an All Blacks game, but I still predict backlash.
If (heaven forbid) the All Blacks crashed out of the Rugby World Cup, would you take your disappointment out in the voting booth? It'd be safe to assume that Richie McCaw would put any political aspirations on hold. David Farrar has written a very interesting piece on the connection between a massive sporting event and politics.
If you want to impress everyone with both your worldly knowledge and singing ability tonight, here's where you can learn and singalong with Ko e fasi 'o e tu'i 'o e 'Otu Tonga, the Tongan national anthem. In fact, this site is just brilliant for learning every single one of the participating nations' anthems. Good luck with the Georgian one, which involves the phrase 'Ts'ilnaq'aria ghmerttana'.
Dylan Cleaver has written about the danger facing the All Blacks heading into the "squeaky-bum" phase of the Rugby World Cup without really being tested (hehe, he said "bum").
With the exception of France, historically the All Blacks have been overwhelmingly dominant against their pool opponents. This shows just how dominant they've been in a very cool way.
The New York Times global edition has put up their five players to watch. Sadly no members of the Russian team made this shortlist.
Wynne Gray has raised an interesting point in this article on the fear of a Rugby World Cup Final shootout. It sounds pretty scary, but how funny would Andrew Hore look lining up a kick at goal?
Supporting a team shouldn't make you bankrupt. Here are some tips on how to show your All Black pride on the cheap.
After the All Blacks perform the haka tonight and your neck hairs are at full attention, your adrenalin is at the same level of Richie McCaw's and you're ready to pounce through the television to play 80 minutes yourself, prepare to have that vibe interrupted by ads. Most channels will be trying to sell you something in the space after the haka and before kick-off.
Whenever you're by the water-cooler and feel the need to pass off some highly qualified opinion as your own, head to our experts and analysis page. There are some big names popping up in there, including Wayne Shelford and Sir Colin Meads.
Before you buy any game tickets make sure they're the genuine article. There have been some dodgy ones floating around.
Here's a little video looking at how Auckland is shaping up before it all kicks off. It also highlights what it would be like to be kicked in the face by Dan Carter.
More good news. University of Otago composition lecturer and prominent New Zealand composer Dr Anthony Ritchie has made the New Zealand national anthem easier for us all to sing along to. No more glass shattering falsetto shockers.
For those who enjoy imbibing a certain amber liquid while they watch a certain game, here's some really good news. It is important to mention that only mastercard and cold hard cash will be accepted at Eden Park, so hit the ATM before you get there. Also, if you're an overseas visitor and you're lucky enough to look under 25, your passport is the only valid form of ID accepted when buying alcohol.
Here's today's Rugby World Cup news video. It features a sneak peek behind the scenes of the opening ceremony.
I think it might be time to warm your brains up. Give our Rugby World Cup opening game quiz a go.
If you've managed to snap some photos of SBW getting his next tattoo or taken a sneaky video of a New Zealand chef making a 'special' seafood dish for the Springboks, you can send them to us here. In fact, we're happy to take any of your amazing Rugby World Cup photos, video or stories.
The support shown for the Tongan side has been, quite frankly, brilliant. But there is one well known ex-player of Tongan descent who will be backing the All Blacks all the way.
That South Africa side to face Wales we mentioned earlier happens to be a record breaker. It's the most experienced line-up ever named in the history of the sport. The 15 players combine for 815 caps, breaking the record which the Springboks set against Australia a month ago when their starting XV totalled 810 caps between them.
Former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga has come in to have a chat with our columnist Gregor Paul about his thoughts on the side to face Tonga. He also wades into the Dagg vs Muliaina debate by joining 'Team Mils'.
Here are some of the best quotes from all the Rugby World Cup media events yesterday:
"You'd be a mug if you hadn't learned in the four years since then."
- McCaw, again, after being asked whether the All Blacks had learnt from their mistakes at RWC 2007.
"Just because it's the World Cup, you don't suddenly get better. You can only do what you can do, so all we can do is hone our accuracy."
- Japan's experienced wing Hirotoki Onozawa keeps his feet on the ground before Saturday's game against France.
"Hopefully, we'll carry the ball forward a lot, but we'll have to keep it away from Dan Cole because he's very greedy."
- Maybe England prop Dan Cole won't be getting too much ball from his teammate and new wing Delon Armitage in Saturday's game against Argentina.
"I had some fish envy, for sure. I thought my effort was pretty good until then."
- Scott Franklin on seeing his Canadian teammate Jebb Sinclair land a 2m shark on their fishing trip on Thursday
It's shaping up to be the pick of the opening round matches, and South Africa have picked a great side to face Wales. Have a look at our summary here.
Wynne Gray has written a great preview piece ahead of the opening match between Tonga and the All Blacks.
South Africa head coach Peter De Villiers has just announced his team to play their opening match in Pool D against Wales at Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, on Sunday, 11 September.
1. Tendai Mtawarira 2. John Smit (c) 3. Jannie Du Plessis 4. Danie Rossouw 5. Victor Matfield 6. Heinrich Brüssow 7. Schalk Burger 8. Pierre Spies 9. Fourie Du Preez 10. Morné Steyn 11. Bryan Habana 12. Jean De Villiers 13. Jaque Fourie 14. JP Pietersen 15. Frans Steyn
16. Bismarck Du Plessis 17. Gurthrö Steenkamp 18. CJ van der Linde 19. Johan Muller 20. Willem Alberts 21. Francois Hougaard 22. Butch James
Good morning everyone and welcome to our live updating coverage of the first day of the Rugby World Cup 2011. It's finally here. Congratulations for making it through the last four years. We've got a while before the business end of the competition tests your nerves, today it's about celebration. Enjoy it wherever you are, but if you're going to the opening ceremony you can expect a special 'mystery' guest (not so much a mystery anymore I'm afraid).