Foreign fans shunned HK rugby Test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Foreign fans shunned HK rugby Test

01/11/2010 06:44:25 PM Comments (0)

Hong Kong's rugby governing body blames a lack of foreign interest for the poor turnout at this year's prestigious Bledisloe Cup clash between Australia and New Zealand.

Saturday's fourth and final Test, won with the last kick by Australia, was widely hailed as the most exciting meeting of the world's top two sides for a decade but a crowd of just 26,000 turned out to watch the action in the 40,000-capacity Hong Kong Stadium.

Many rugby fans were thought to have baulked at the eye-watering ticket prices, ranging from 880 to 1,250 Hong Kong dollars ($A130-$A160) for adults.

But the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union said around the same number of tickets had been sold locally this year as in 2008, when the series last came to the southern Chinese city, playing to a near-capacity crowd.

"We are missing several thousand travellers as compared to 2008," Sean Moore, the union's Bledisloe Cup spokesman, said on Monday.

"I think it is a mix of economics and Rugby World Cup 2011 planning that depressed the international travel market this year."

All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen said in the run-up to the game the lack of interest was down to Aussies and Kiwis staying away rather than a failure of the project to spread rugby union to Asia.

"The difference is Australians and New Zealanders aren't travelling to come and watch the game," he said. "The recession is probably a good part to do with that. But I don't think it's fair to dump it on the locals."

Hansen also attributed the low numbers of travelling fans to the September 4 Christchurch earthquake, the most destructive to hit New Zealand in 80 years, which left thousands of people with repair work to do on their homes.

The New Zealand and Australian unions have treated the Asian Tests as a potential cash cow after the success of 2008 which generated a reported two million dollars for each nation, with even bigger financial rewards thought to have come from Tokyo last year.

But there will only be two Bledisloe Tests as part of a scaled-down Tri Nations series next year because of the World Cup in New Zealand, and there are no plans to bring the cup back to Asia.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news