Newcastle set to welcome Lions
Fri, 15 Feb 2013 12:13
Tickets to the highly anticipated British and Irish Lions tour to Australia are set to go on sale next week with the Lions’ match in Newcastle expected to sell fast.
At 9:00am on Monday tickets to the Combined NSW/QLD Country v Lions Tour match at Hunter Stadium will go on sale to the general public and fans are being encouraged to purchase quickly.
Last week the Australian Rugby Union provided members of the rugby community with an exclusive opportunity to buy Lions tickets before they went on public sale.
The Newcastle Community responded keenly, snapping up tickets quickly during their pre-sale window, continuing the strong support shown by the city last year when the Wallabies played their maiden Test at Hunter Stadium.
ARU CEO, Bill Pulver, said the anticipation for a tour “12 years in the making” was high and expected tickets to move quickly on Monday morning.
“There is a fantastic air of excitement across Australia for the impending British and Irish Lions Tour,” Mr Pulver said.
“The Lions only visit our shores once every 12 years and the scarcity of a Lions tours has not been lost on Australian rugby fans or the Newcastle public.
“The last time the Lions visited Newcastle was during their 1989 tour to Australia when they played the NSW Country side.
“That was 24 years ago, so when tickets to the Lions match go on sale on Monday I encourage people to get in quick to ensure they don’t have to wait another 12 years to see the Lions in action in Newcastle.”
While the Lion’s last visit to Newcastle was in 1989 the iconic side has a rich history in the city dating back 125 years. During their first tour to Australia in 1888 the Lions played the Falcons in Newcastle, claiming the honours in a tight affair (14-7).
Local member for Newcastle, Tim Owen AM, said the opportunity to host the iconic British and Irish Lions would provide a great boost for the Newcastle and Hunter economy.
“The Lions are renowned for their passionate and dedicated fans who travel the world to watch them play,” Mr Owen said.
“Who can forget the Sea of Red that followed the Lions everywhere in 2001, it was incredible and no doubt it will be coming our way in June.
“The Newcastle community is ready to welcome them with open arms and I would encourage all of the travelling Lions supporters to spend a few extra days in town to enjoy the all the offerings Newcastle and the Hunter region has to share.
“I encourage the people of Newcastle to get in early on Monday to ensure they don’t miss out on seeing one of the world’s most iconic sporting teams in action.”
Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Clr Jeff McCloy, said the visit by the British and Irish Lions would add another chapter in Newcastle’s already proud sporting history.
“We are a city that appreciates and welcomes international sporting events and when the Lions arrive here in June it will be fantastic occasion for the city,” Clr McCloy said.
“The opportunity the Lions provide to showcase our wonderful city is something that is very welcome.
“While it isn’t the first time the Lions have come here, and hopefully it won’t be the last, one thing is certain, it is a long time between visits so I encourage Newcastle to get behind this great event and secure their tickets when they go on sale on Monday.”
Former Wallabies, Waratahs and NSW Country representative Steven Merrick said the chance to represent a Combined Country side against the Lions would be “a dream come true” for the players selected.
“It is an honour to get selected for any representative side, but for the blokes from NSW and Queensland who get selected for the Combined side it will an amazing experience,” Merrick said.
“The Lions are the most iconic team in world rugby and if you get a chance to play against them at any level it’s something that you’ll never forget.
“The 23 blokes who pull on that jersey and take on the Lions will all have huge smiles on their faces and will take away a lifetime of wonderful memories and stories of the occasion.”
Tickets to all of the matches on the British and Irish Lions tour will go on sale on Monday from 9:00am local time with Test ticket prices set at the same levels for all three showdowns between the Wallabies and the Lions in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
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