Scalpers move in on RWC tickets

THE last few Rugby World Cup final tickets are likely to sell out before the end of the day at official outlets - and scalpers are now promising tickets at up to twice their face values through overseas websites.

A scramble for tickets began as soon as the final whistle sounded in Sunday's semifinal between the All Blacks and Australia which confirmed New Zealand's final spot.

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House of Travel retail director Brent Thomas said the agency had had its first inquiry at 10.54pm on Sunday.

"Some of them are pretty keen to get going and there's been a steady stream. We have a limited number of packages, and I expect that by the end of the business day [today] we will probably be out."

Tickets being sold by travel agencies must be packaged with travel or accommodation.

Mr Thomas said accommodation in Auckland was limited, but the agency still had hotel rooms priced from NZD300 ($AU234) to NZD350 ($AU273) a night up to penthouse suites at NZD1500 ($AU1172) a night.

Public tickets available through tournament organisers are exhausted, but there is a chance a small number of fresh tickets will be released later in the week when ticket allocations to teams are finalised.

Only 200 hospitality packages were last night expected to be available this morning after a surge of interest. The remaining packages are NZD1000 ($AU781)for category D tickets and pre-match hospitality at Vector Arena, which includes food and a cash bar.

Cruise ships have already left Auckland for midweek tours around New Zealand before returning for the weekend.

Steve Kirwan, manager of the Auckland-based Cruise Company, said it would not be possible to book cabins on ships for just the weekend in order to buy match tickets. Meanwhile, many Welsh and Australian fans were spotted in central Auckland cafes yesterday with makeshift signs offering tickets to the final.

Online auction site eBay Australia has listed about 50 sets of finals tickets, most of which can be picked up in Auckland or sent by urgent delivery. One auction offers two category C tickets - with a face value of NZD1500 ($AU1172) - at NZD3300 ($AU2578) buy-now.

"My team are unfortunately out of the World Cup and after having enjoyed an awesome weekend watching them in Wellington, we will not be making use of these finals tickets," the seller says.

But tournament organisers warned against buying tickets from unofficial sources such as eBay to avoid disappointment.

About 12,000 tickets are left for the bronze final on Friday, when a crowd of about 50,000 is expected at Eden Park.

What's left?

  • Corporate hospitality packages: NZD1000 ($AU781) for tickets and pre-match hospitality at Vector Arena, including a cash bar - about 200 left.
  • Travel packages - likely to sell out by the end of the day.
  • Unofficial sales, such as those through online auction site eBay.



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