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End to Hongkong honeymoon

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Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O’Neill has said the fourth Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand will go ahead in Hong Kong next month despite sluggish ticket sales, reports said on Thursday.

AFP

The statement came after doubts were expressed that the Hong Kong Test would be played or would perhaps be moved to London’s Twickenham stadium because of below expectation ticket sales.

But O’Neill said there were no plans to cancel the Test, which is scheduled to be played at the Hong Kong International Stadium on October 30.

“It’s fair to say that ticket sales have not been as we had hoped,” O’Neill told newspapers.

“A number of reasons for that. We will be having some deep and meaningful conversations with the Hong Kong Rugby Union in the next 48 hours.

“There are no plans to cancel the match. We have to find ways and means of getting ticket sales back to what they should be.”

The ARU chief said arrangements around next month’s Test were different from what they were when the last Bledisloe Cup Test was staged in Hong Kong two years ago.

“We have left a lot of the organisation to the HKRU for which they are getting paid a fee,” he said.

“It’s fair to say we need to be more hands-on and work very hard to make sure that it is a success, but we can’t gild the lily, ticket sales are off the pace with a couple of months to go.

“We’ll do whatever we have to do to make sure it works.”

The Wallabies and the All Blacks have played each other in Hong Kong and Tokyo over the last two years to generate income and try to develop the game in Asia.

O’Neill said that Hong Kong would mark the last time the Wallabies and the All Blacks played four Bledisloe Cup Tests in the one year and they were not looking to take any future Tests offshore.

“Regardless of the challenges we have had in Hong Kong this year, the days of four Bledisloe Tests are over,” he said.

The Wallabies and the All Blacks play their final Tri-Nations Test of the season in Sydney on Saturday, with New Zealand having already secured the trans-Tasman Cup after winning the two earlier matches of the series.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Well, well, well.
    Didn’t the OZmob and the Kiwis
    gang up against SA to let the
    Japs have WC 2015?

    Or am I being looney?

  2. Reply to Ollie @ 4:11 pm:

    Forget about marketing the
    game in Asia – they are
    genetically challenged to
    play it. Therefore the interest
    will always be limited.

    SSI is another matter, but they
    don’t have the stadia and population.

    And you can’t expect the Kiwis
    to undermine on of their chief
    sources.

  3. Reply to Boertjie @ 4:23 pm:

    But there is money in it in Asia. look how many players go there to earn some retirement cash.

    When the Asian teams play each other genetics do not come into play. Holding a RWC there would boost the local competitions and increase interest thereby increasing TV advertising etc revenues.

    Where the NZAR boys went wrong was expecting the locals to be interested in the AB/Aus rivalry.

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