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All Blacks to meet Tonga in World Cup opener

All Blacks to meet Tonga in World Cup opener

The All Blacks will play Pacific rival Tonga in the opening match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup at Auckland on Sept. 9, organizers announced Thursday.
The All Blacks, who have not won the World Cup since it was last held on New Zealand soil in 1987, are in Group A with Tonga, France and qualifiers from Asia and the Americas.
Defending World Cup champion South Africa will open its campaign in Group D against Wales at Wellington on Sunday, Sept. 11. Australia, the only other two-time champion, faces Italy in the opening Group C match at Christchurch the same day.
England, which beat Australia for the 2003 title and lost the 2007 final to South Africa in Paris, opens against Argentina in Christchurch on Saturday, Sept. 10. Argentina was a surprise semifinalist at France in '07.
The French play the top Asian qualifier, likely Japan, on Sept. 10.