Boks steer clear of 'boring' Hamilton
"The Springboks have heeded the advice of former Australian rugby fullback Chris Latham by avoiding Hamilton for as long as possible - to escape boredom.
The South Africans won't fly from their Gold Coast base in Queensland until Thursday, landing 48 hours out from the Tri-Nations test against the All Blacks at Waikato Stadium.
Coach Peter de Villiers expressed concern that his players would suffer from apathy as "there is nothing in Hamilton".
"Hotel fatigue can kick in and the guys can lose interest very quickly and they might start thinking of going home already," De Villiers told reporters in Australia.
"So I decided to bring them here (Surfers Paradise) to keep them interested so that they can be fresh when we get to New Zealand on Thursday. We will only know afterwards if we did the right or wrong thing."
De Villiers may have tuned in to the three-year-old comments made by Latham after his Queensland Reds side heavily lost a Super 14 match to the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Latham said the culprit was pre-match boredom, with players having spent much of the buildup lazing in their hotel rooms, "in what would not be the world's most exciting town".
"If we were here in sunny Brisbane, there's a lot of things to do and a lot of places to go and get out and get motivated and get moving...." Read the rest of the story
Hamilton is already on standby ahead of the test match. A number of world cup officials will be in the town for the game and police are already issuing advice to fans to be on their guard against opportunistic crime as the town prepares for its test match vetting.
Accommodation shortage and price gouging
It will be interesting to see how many world cup fans will decide to do the same in 2011 and fly-in for specific matches, especially as there is a reported lack of accommodation in many of the match locations. Trans-Tasman travel is destined to become cheaper soon with the introduction of 'domestic' flights between NZ and Australia. See New Zealand may fall short of world cup beds (Travelmole)
Some homeowners have already been warned not to hike prices, executive homes near Eden Park are rumoured to be going for $4,000-$5,000 during the week of the final. Final tickets are estimated to cost $800 dollars and New Zealanders are already being offered 6 month buy-now-pay-later schemes.
The following day the Hamilton PR effort bounced back and Waikato Rugby Union chief executive Graham Bowen tried to promote attractions such as the Waitomo caves (much loved by David Attenborough) Raglan's surf breaks and Rotorua, about an hour and a half away.
The mayor, Bob Simcock, still couldn't resist a swift poke at the Boks' collective eye though by saying "To be honest, if the Springboks were in the streets of Hamilton they probably wouldn't feel that welcome anyway." Well who can blame them for staying away?!
It's going to be an interesting match. All of the 31,557 tickets for the game, the first Bok v. AB meet on Mooloo territory, have been sold.
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