Kiwi fans snub opener

The first match of the expanded Vodacom Tri-Nations will not be sold out on Saturday.

Christchurch’s Jade Stadium has a capacity of just 35,700, but there are still 4,700 tickets available.

The public apathy has been blamed on a Sanzar tournament that has grown stale since it was launched in 1996, with the same three sides still involved.

However, Canterbury chief executive Hamish Riach said the cold weather, and not too much rugby, has deterred fans from attending the only Test in Christchurch this year.

“Night tests in July are fraught with weather issues and I think that is definitely a factor,” Riach said. “We have little control over what games we get and the order they are in. We would like them later, but that is not up to us,” he said.

New Zealand Rugby Union marketing and sponsorship manager Fraser Holland said the slow sales were not a concern.

“Considering the weather you have had recently 30,000 sales is a pretty good amount. We are pragmatic about it. At the end of the day, we are committed to having more Tests in Christchurch.”