All Blacks blame recession for poor ticket sales

The All Blacks have blamed the global financial downturn and an earthquake in New Zealand for the poor ticket sales for this weekend’s clash against Australia in Hong Kong.

Organisers of the match in Hong Kong have yet to sell around 13,000 tickets for the fourth and final Bledisloe Cup match which many have called dead rubber.

The lack of ticket sales with prices for adults ranging from 880 to 1,250 Hong Kong dollars (130 to 160 US) will mean that the stadium will have more than a quarter of its seats empty.

“I don’t understand Mandarin so I’m not sure whether there is a lot of excitement or not,” All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen said not knowing that the local population is mainly Cantonese.

“But there’s certainly a lot of excitement in our camp. We’re really looking forward to it.

“Hopefully the people here who love rugby get along and watch it and the game lives up to the bill.”

Hansen did not blame the locals and said that the lack of interest was down to Australians and New Zealanders.

Hansen said that he believed the sport’s popularity had increased since the two teams last met in Hong Kong in 2008.

“They’ve probably embraced it more,” he told AFP. “They’ve sold more local tickets this time than they did last time. The difference is Australians and New Zealanders aren’t travelling to come and watch the game.

“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.”

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