Rugby World Cup organisers say the tournament has easily surpassed the overall crowd target of 127,000 spectators with next week’s final between New Zealand and England almost sold out.
More than 22,000 fans were in the stands at Eden Park for the semi-finals yesterday.
Tournament director Michelle Hooper said the 40,000 capacity at Eden Park was just about sold out for next Saturday’s final between the Black Ferns and the English Roses.
The final is set to break the world record for the largest crowd to attend a women’s rugby match.
The record was set at the opening game of the tournament where just over 34,000 people filled the stands.
Hooper said ticket sales for the Rugby World Cup Final boomed last night, with 8000 tickets sold after the Black Fern’s semi-final win.
“There was a massive scramble just immediately after final whistle last night, we jumped on the website and we could see there was 4000 people trying to buy tickets immediately after that whistle went.
“We sold over 8000 tickets last night, pretty much the majority of the tickets have gone.”
There would be some small final releases in the next couple of days as the groupings were trimmed up, Hooper said.
Hooper said she had been stoked with the reception and it was what the Black Ferns deserved.
“They’re kind of the unsung heroes and this is a testament to the legacy they have here, also the legacy to women’s rugby globally, it completely hasn’t had the stage in the spotlight that it so deserved and in New Zealand we were determined to supercharge it and give it that platform to really shine.”
The atmosphere at games had been unbelievable and it was fitting the final would be a sell-out between New Zealand, and the favourites, England, Hooper said.
RWC gives businesses economic and morale boost – Bridges
Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Simon Bridges said the Rugby World Cup was just what local businesses needed.
The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty for businesses over the past few years, and it had done more than just financial damage, he said.
Morale amongst Auckland businesses also took a big hit and it was fantastic to see them again buzzing at capacity, Bridges said.
The Rugby World Cup had exceeded expectations and the atmosphere in Tāmaki Makaurau was amazing, he said.
Bridges believed people were wanting to make the most of big events and being able to party following the pandemic and he said that combined with the Black Fern’s incredible performance meant businesses had enjoyed a great atmosphere.
That was especially true for the hospitality sector, with bars, cafes and restaurants about the city centre hitting capacity, he said.
England likely even tougher match – Smith
New Zealand defeated France 25 to 24 in the semi-final and England booked their finals berth with a 26 to 19 win over Canada.
England has won 30 games in a row and Black Ferns coach Wayne Smith expects them to be an even tougher match-up than France.
“I think this is going to be another step up again, a challenge, obviously I’ve done a lot of work on England as all the coaches have. They’re pretty frightening, they’re so efficient in what they do.”
France and Canada will play for a bronze medal and both matches will be played at Eden Park in Auckland.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz