Rugby World Cup organisers agree to extend halftime breaks

Halftime breaks at this year's rugby World Cup will be extended to 12 minutes to alleviate the crush for...

The official IRB ball for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Picture: AFP

Halftime breaks at this year's rugby World Cup will be extended to 12 minutes to alleviate the crush for food and toilets for fans and give broadcasters more time for analysis, organisers said Friday.

Halftime breaks for rugby matches in New Zealand are typically 10 minutes, though the International Rugby Board (IRB)

changed the rules last November to allow the interval in test matches to be up to 15 minutes, Fairfax New Zealand reported.

"International matches around the world vary from anywhere between 10 minutes and up towards 13 minutes," the IRB's World Cup tournament manager Kit McConnell told Fairfax.

"International matches in the northern hemisphere go to around twelve and a half minutes including matches the All Blacks have played in recent northern hemisphere tours, so it's not unusual."

McConnell said club matches in England's Premiership had halftime breaks of 15 minutes.

"The reason the English premiership went to 15 minutes is to help out the spectators and alleviate the crush on toilets and food and beverages at halftime," he added.

"Obviously there's broadcast considerations also in terms of half-time analysis and commercial breaks.

"When we looked at what was happening around the world we decided 12 minutes was probably a very good result to balance all those considerations."

The World Cup is being played in New Zealand from 9 September to 23 October.