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World's largest rugby ball to be built next to Tower Bridge

LONDON - Tourism New Zealand is constructing the world's largest rugby ball next to Tower Bridge as part of the build-up to New Zealand hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

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The ball will be a temporary event space for visitors starting on November 26, complete with New Zealand-themed activities, including original pieces from Kiwi artists and an audio-visual virtual tour of the New Zealand countryside.

Mayor Boris Johnson will be present at the opening of the ball on November 25 and will participate in a traditional Maori ceremony.

The 220-capacity venue will also host the anticipated draw for the World Cup pool on December 1, which will kick off England's preparations for the World Cup.

The ball follows on from the "What do you say, UK?" campaign which was launched by TVC in September.

Tourism New Zealand worked with design studio Inside Out Productions to create the ball, the same company responsible for the three-storey Louis Vuitton suitcase that toured the world for Vuitton's 150th anniversary celebrations.

Gregg Anderson, Tourism New Zealand's regional manager for UK and Europe, said: "This prominent location in the heart of London will enable us to show Londoners and rugby fans from across the world a little piece of what our country has to offer.

"The ball will give visitors a taste of what they can expect when they travel to New Zealand, showcasing the country's stunning landscape, whilst revealing a world-class talent for innovation."

The ball measures 25 metres long, 17m wide and 12m high and will be constructed over five days in Potter's Field before opening on November 25.

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