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