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New Zealand 'minimised' in World Cup promotion
ESPN Staff
September 4, 2014
Game of Thrones inspires Rugby World Cup promotion

Rugby World Cup officials have defended themselves after New Zealand did not obviously feature in their Game of Thrones-inspired Rugby World Cup promotional video encouraging people to buy tickets to the tournament, saying simply that current and former All Blacks were unavailable to participate when the clip was produced in London.

The video obviously references England, Wales, Australia, South Africa, Scotland, Italy, France, Tonga, Samoa and Canada, but England Rugby spokeswoman Joanna Manning-Cooper said the New Zealand representations "were just a bit hard to spot".

"In the film, one parent of the little boy who squeezes between his parents' legs is an All Black fan," she said. "You may need to look more closely than usual as the tournament brand guidelines meant we had to remove the AIG sponsor branding from the Ne Zealand shirts."

A New Zealand Rugby spokesman said the board was not concerned by the apparent omission from the campaign of the world's No.1 ranked team and reigning Rugby World Cup champions, while All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said he was "pretty sure that we have qualified for the World Cup so we'll probably be there".

All Blacks fans subsequently noticed also that an email update sent by Rugby World Cup organisers 12 days ago included a world map without New Zealand. The map also does not feature host country England or other World Cup-contestants from Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

Several World Cup finalists are omitted from a map on RWC promotional material © Image Supplied
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