ARU boss hopes for Bledisloe crowd boost - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

ARU boss hopes for Bledisloe crowd boost

By Ed Jackson 08/09/2010 07:18:53 PM Comments (0)

Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill feels the Wallabies' heroic victory over South Africa last weekend will boost crowd numbers for Saturday's Test against the All Blacks.

O'Neill says there's still "plenty left" when it comes to tickets for the Bledisloe Cup match at Sydney's ANZ Stadium but hopes the Wallabies' efforts in the 41-39 win over the Springboks will force a response from fans.

"Bit of a bounce, bit of a bounce since the weekend," O'Neill told reporters on Sunday.

"We're at the high 60s, 66-67 (thousand), I'd like to see us get at least over 70 (thousand).

"I think we're in with a real shout on the weekend. That win in Bloemfontein had enormous character and a lot of self-belief."

O'Neill faces a stiff challenge, however, with the match coinciding with the first weekend of the NRL finals and the All Blacks having already won the Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations series.

"You get momentum in this game and I'd like to think whilst the All Blacks have won the first two, there's two to play for, and it would put a bit of a dint in the All Blacks confidence if we were able to back up, the Springboks one week and All Blacks the next week," he said.

"We'd like all Australian fans to be bold, wear gold, come out and enjoy the night at Homebush. I can't remember a better Tri-Nations series ... come out and support the Wallabies, that's the catch cry."

One match that isn't receiving the support O'Neill would like is October's Bledisloe Cup match in Hong Kong, with reports from New Zealand suggesting the match was under threat of being moved to Twickenham in London with less than 10,000 tickets sold.

O'Neill admitted the sales were going slowly but denied the game would be being moved away from Hong Kong Stadium.

"There are no plans to cancel the match, we've got to find ways and means of getting ticket sales back to what they should be," he said.

"The arrangements around this match are a bit different to the ones two years ago in that we've left a lot of the organisation to the Hong Kong Rugby Union, for which they're getting paid a fee, and I think it's fair to say we need to be more hands on and work very hard to make sure that it is a success."

O'Neill confirmed this year's match in Hong Kong would be the final year of four Bledisloe Tests and the are no further plans to hold matches in Asia.

"I've said before that this will be the last year we play four Bledisloes and we haven't been backward in admitting that Hong Kong and Tokyo had two components, one was financial and one was aspirations in Asia."

On the pitch, the Wallabies were dealt a blow on Wednesday with winger Drew Mitchell succumbing to a hamstring injury sustained in the win in Bloemfontein.

Queensland Reds flier Peter Hynes, fully recovered from a knee injury, is in contention for Mitchell's No.11 jersey along with NSW flier Lachie Turner, Western Force star Nick Cummins and Brumbies rookie Pat McCabe.

Cameron Shepherd could also come into consideration as he recovers from a groin injury when the team for Saturday's match is named on Thursday.

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