Endacott Urges Fans To Snap Up RLWC Tickets
It may be 270 days until Christchurch hosts the first of its two Rugby League World Cup fixtures, but RLWC 2017 ambassador Frank Endacott is imploring fans to snap up tickets now – or risk missing out.
New Zealand take on Scotland at AMI Stadium on November 4, while the venue also hosts a quarter-final on November 18, a playoff which will pit Samoa, Tonga or Scotland against Fiji, USA or Italy.
“I’d suggest people get their tickets earlier rather than later, because when they go, they’ll go quick,” Endacott says.
“I’ve asked quite a few people if they’ve got any birthdays coming up. (Tickets) make good birthday presents, so go and buy a couple of tickets for your person with a birthday.
“And family tickets are very reasonable also, so book it in and let’s show the world of rugby league that we’re going to support it down here in Canterbury, because we want more matches down here in the future.”
Tickets range from $10 for concession/juniors and $20 for adults, up to $50 for Category A seats. A family pass (two adults and two juniors) costs just $45.
The capacity 18,000-strong turnout for last season’s Panthers-Warriors NRL clash emphasised the thirst for top-level rugby league in the region, and RLWC 2017 organisers are justifiably hoping for back-to-back sell-outs at AMI Stadium in November.
This year marks the first time since the 1988 final at Eden Park between New Zealand and Australia (won 25-12 by the Wally Lewis-led green-and-golds) that New Zealand has hosted World Cup fixtures.
Meanwhile, Christchurch will host its first Kiwis Test since the clash with Great Britain during the 2006 Four Nations.
“We can’t stress the point enough how lucky we are to get two games here in Christchurch, because of our position with stadiums and so on,” Endacott enthuses.
“And to get the Kiwis playing here is a plus, and they play Scotland, who drew with them in England. I’ll suggest that won’t happen here.
“To see the Kiwis in action and have them here in the leading up to it is nothing short of fantastic for our game here in Canterbury.”
‘Happy Frank’ is looking forward to the pre-match entertainment the Scots are sure to bring to Christchurch.
“I love bagpipes. Don’t ask me why, I just like it.
“There’s a lot of Scottish heritage in Dunedin as well, of course, so we need to let people from down there know to come up and back their teams, and everyone to turn out for the Kiwis.
“Then two weeks later we host a quarter-final, which could be something like Samoa versus Fiji, and what entertainment that will be. I think we’re in for a real treat.”
New Zealand are coming off an underwhelming Four Nations showing in England under new coach – and Hornby product – David Kidwell, trounced by Australia in the final after an embarrassing 18-all draw with relative minnows Scotland.
But they will start as second-favourites behind Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos to lift the trophy after the December 2 final at Suncorp Stadium, where the Kiwis triumphed in the 2008 RLWC decider and the 2010 Four Nations final.
Endacott is confident the co-hosts will be far more formidable in familiar surrounds at the end of the year than they were recently in the UK.
“I’d be disappointed if they didn’t improve greatly from that (Four Nations) tour, I thought they were very disappointing,” he says.
“In saying that, I’m expecting big things on home turf from them. David Kidwell’s a Canterbury boy, he’s bringing the team back here, so they will be a lot of local influence involved.
“I’m picking that we’ll go pretty good in the World Cup.”
Long-time assistant Kidwell, who represented the Kiwis in 25 Tests, took over the head coach role only weeks out from the Four Nations after Stephen Kearney accepted the Warriors coaching position.
Endacott played down the short build-up as an excuse, but backed Kidwell to have the Kiwis humming for the World Cup.
“We all had short build-ups – I remember once we had two days!
“Kiwi coaches know that, they know you’ve got to do your homework before you go over there.
“The good thing about the Kiwis is they come together so quickly.
“It’s hard to explain, but it’s like a big family coming together and David will be finding that now. He experienced it as a player and as Stephen’s assistant.
“Everyone welcomes you with open arms, you’re accepted right away and you actually get straight into it. You don’t work your way into it, you get straight into it.
“It’s a great feeling in Kiwi camps. Kiwi teams bind together better than any other over a period of time.”
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Photo Credit: CMG Sports