All Blacks' Smith keen on Asian stopover - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

All Blacks' Smith keen on Asian stopover

By Ed Jackson 08/09/2010 01:18:28 PM Comments (0)

All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith is hoping this year's fourth Bledisloe Cup clash can be kept in Hong Kong.

Reports have emerged suggesting October's match may be moved, with Twickenham in London mooted as the most likely venue.

Slow ticket sales, with less than 10,000 sold for the match at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium, are believed to be behind the possibility of a venue switch.

Asia has hosted a Bledisloe Cup match for the past three years.

Last year's was in Tokyo, following the inaugural Asian visit to Hong Kong in 2008.

New Zealand have won both matches but last year's match in Japan required ticket giveaways to boost numbers in the crowd.

And with the match coming before a four-week Spring Tour in Europe for both nations, Smith believes it is in the best interests of the All Blacks and Wallabies to play in Asia rather than spending an additional week in Europe.

"I really enjoyed it there a couple of years ago," Smith told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

"I think some of those exotic venues are good for the guys. They're out of the ordinary, they're off the treadmill and into a new territory. They tend to freshen up a little bit.

"I think we generally would enjoy that stopover. It's a different culture and it's a different place to play.

"It's off the beaten track, so to speak, in terms of rugby venues."

Smith admitted he was unsure whether the match would still be held in Hong Kong, saying that decision rested with the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Australian Rugby Union.

The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union overnight issued a statement strongly denying reports of venue shift, saying the match has definitely not been cancelled and will go ahead as planned at Hong Kong Stadium.

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