United front over Hong Kong clash
September 15, 2010
The Hong Kong Stadium will play host to Australia and New Zealand once again next month © Getty Images
Australia and New Zealand have reaffirmed their commitment to play the fourth and final Bledisloe Cup clash of the year in Hong Kong.
Recent speculation had suggested that the fixture, scheduled for Hong Kong Stadium on October 30, could be moved due to concerns over poor ticket sales. Last week only 10,000 tickets had been sold for the 40,000-seat venue, home of the iconic Hong Kong Sevens, but New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew and his Australian Rugby Union counterpart John O'Neill insist the game will go ahead as planned.
"Both the New Zealand and Australian rugby unions are fully supportive of the Hong Kong fixture and are committed to bringing one of world rugby's legendary matches back to Asia," said Tew in a joint statement. "The upcoming end of year tour is vital for both teams going into 2011 and I know the All Blacks will be looking to put in a strong performance to kick off their tour on the back of a successful Tri Nations campaign."
The All Blacks retained the sizeable Bledisloe Cup silverware with a 49-28 victory in Melbourne and a 20-10 success in Christchurch and they completed a Tri-Nations clean sweep with a 23-22 success in Sydney last weekend. However, O'Neill is hoping the Wallabies can end a 10-game losing run at the hands of their old rivals in Hong Kong.
"The quality of Rugby in this year's Bledisloe Cup series has been outstanding," said O'Neill. "These are the best two teams in world rugby and the one-point separating them in Sydney last Saturday night underlines the closeness of the contest. There is also no doubt that the game, as it is currently being played in the Southern Hemisphere, is as exciting as it has been at any other time in memory.
"At the international level there has been a plethora of tries and consistently scintillating attacking rugby. However, the ferocity of the trans-Tasman matches has not been compromised whatsoever. We're confident the match in Hong Kong will be another entertainment package no sporting fan would want to miss."
Trevor Gregory, chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) added, "The HKRFU and thousands of sports fans in Hong Kong and around the region are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the teams and we look forward to welcoming them with Hong Kong's famous hospitality."
To date, over 14,000 tickets have been sold and sales are expected to increase in the coming weeks. The HKRFU has confirmed that a sponsorship announcement will be made soon, reinforcing the strong interest in the region in the Bledisloe Cup Hong Kong match.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker