ARU chief loves the Lions

The British & Irish Lions have already captured the imagination of the Australian sports fans and the Test series is set to take it to a new level. [more]

ARU chief loves the Lions

The British & Irish Lions have already captured the imagination of the Australian sports fans and the Test series is set to take it to a new level.

That’s the view of new Australian Rugby Union chief executive, Bill Pulver, who wishes he could have the Lions touring in his country every year.

“I am unbelievably excited about the Test series. I feel as though I’ve been wrapped up in administration for four and a half months, but we are now about to get to what arguably is one of the greatest games of all time – the Wallabies against the Lions,” said Pulver.

“It is hugely important for Australian rugby. Some of the key metrics reflecting the health of our game have been trending for the last couple of years and one of those is fan engagement.

“I’m looking for this series to capture the fans’ imagination. If the Wallabies can compete effectively against a team as good as the Lions I am hoping it will help to capture the hearts and minds.

Google Ad Manager – In Article

“The fact we put these tickets on sale at an incredibly high price and they sold within a nano-second shows there is a massive appetite for the Lions in Australia and long may it continue. I asked (Lions chairman) Gerald Davies if he could come back again next year because the financial implications are so good – we love the Lions.”

Pulver has travelled around Australia with the Lions and has been delighted with the crowds. A sell-out gate of 50,000+ will be at the Suncorp Stadium today for the first Test in Brisbane and it will be the same in Melbourne and Sydney as the series reaches its climax.

And Pulver has no concerns over the Wallabies being ‘undercooked’ going into the series having not had a warm-up game.

“I have to trust my coach. If I am making him accountable for the team’s performance then I am going to support his requirement,” said Pulver.

“I can tell you he is happy with the preparation. They have had a very constructive two and a half weeks in camp and he has got the playing group he wants. That’s despite him missing a bunch of terrific players through injury.

“I think we are going to see a cracking contest on Saturday night. In some areas the victories to the Lions have been a bit bigger than they should have been because of the teams that were opposing them.

“But I have seen every game and the atmosphere and spirit has been phenomenal. The sea of red is building, the Australian fans love it and it is wonderful for rugby.

“I just wish the Australian crowd would sing. The great criticism I have of rugby in Australia is that in the northern hemisphere you hear the crowds erupt into song.

“The passion and the loyalty is palpable and I just want our crowd to do the same. We have to find a way of doing that in Australia.”

Previous story Leigh looks to Jenks
Next story Huge week for Parling
Download