WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Super Rugby final fever reached Hamilton on Wednesday as fans queued overnight and snapped up all of the tickets on offer for the Waikato Chiefs’ showdown with Australia’s ACT Brumbies.
The Chiefs, who won the title last year, advanced to their second successive final after a tense 20-19 victory over the seven-times champion Canterbury Crusaders, and as top qualifiers during the regular season had the right to host the final.
Tickets to the general public went on sale at 0800 local on Wednesday (2000 GMT Tuesday) and local media reported that some fans had arrived at Waikato Stadium late on Tuesday and withstood chilly overnight conditions to ensure they were able to snap up the 13,000 tickets available.
The queue stretched several hundred metres down the road and the Chiefs said the match had officially sold out by mid afternoon on Wednesday.
The team had already sold 12,000 tickets to their season pass holders, at least 30 of whom were Brumbies fans who bought season passes for the Chiefs’ 2014 campaign to give them priority in buying tickets for Saturday’s final.
Massive local demand meant the Bumbies had only been allocated about 300 tickets as part of a travel and accommodation package for the match, the Canberra Times reported on Wednesday.
In order to ensure a ticket for the final, the group of Brumbies fans had bought a Chiefs’ season pass at a cost of about NZ$65 ($51.87) then bought their tickets for the final.
The Brumbies arrive in New Zealand on Thursday having only arrived back in Australia from Pretoria, where they beat the Bulls 26-23, on Monday.
($1 = 1.2531 New Zealand dollars)
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury, editing by Pritha Sarkar/Peter Rutherford