Lo­cal clubs called on to bil­let Lions fans

Auckland City Harbour News - - OUT & ABOUT - SAMHEWAT

Auck­land rugby clubs are be­ing called on to help out with an ac­com­mo­da­tion short­age dur­ing the up­com­ing Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions tour.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion has been quickly dry­ing up across the coun­try, with one on­line book­ing site book­ing.com say­ing only 7 per cent of Auck­land CBD’s ho­tel rooms are still avail­able for the first All Blacks-Lions tests on June 24.

Due to the rar­ity of the event, com­bined with lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est, and a gen­eral hous­ing short­age in Auck­land at the best of times, Ki­wis are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the short­fall with some homes close to Eden Park of­fer­ing up rooms at $1000 per night dur­ing the tour.

But the In­ter­na­tional Rugby Club, an on­line rugby com­mu­nity, has started an ini­tia­tive backed by All Blacks great Buck Shelford, to have rugby clubs bil­let fam­i­lies dur­ing the tour.

In­ter­na­tional Rugby Club co­founder Tony Mol­loy said it wasn’t just about sup­ply­ing more beds, but rather en­cour­ag­ing a warm and open re­la­tion­ship with rugby fans across the globe.

‘‘Rather than just be­ing about a short­age of beds, it’s more about the ex­pe­ri­ence for the peo­ple stay­ing here and be­ing bil­leted,’’ Mol­loy said.

‘‘When you go over­seas, and you stay with peo­ple, it makes a big dif­fer­ence com­pared to stay­ing at a com­mer­cial prop­erty.

‘‘It’s just an op­por­tu­nity to ex­tend a bit of hos­pi­tal­ity to the fans.’’

There is also a fi­nan­cial in­cen­tive for the clubs who can treat the bil­let­ing scheme as a fundraiser.

‘‘It’s all about do­ing some­thing to sup­port club rugby and grass roots rugby,’’ Mol­loy said.

The ini­tia­tive, ti­tled ive, though his club was yet to be ap­proached.

‘‘We’d be very in­ter­ested in it,’’ Rope said.

‘‘Rugby is a world game and I know what it’s like.

‘‘When I’ve gone over­seas, I’ve al­ways been looked af­ter and we like to re­cip­ro­cate that.’’

REUTERS

Lo­cal Auck­land rugby clubs are be­ing asked to open their homes to Lions fans for this year’s tour.

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