Friday 24 November 2017

We're out of pool but fans will take €4,000 bath on next game

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

GOT €4,000 to spare and a sporting other half who wouldn't mind if you blew it all on a trip to the Rugby World Cup?

Thought not. That's why travel agents admit that there is little demand for last-minute packages to New Zealand in time for this Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against Wales.

Still, if you change your mind, Dublin's Killester Travel is offering a five-night package costing €3,900, including flights, accommodation, and tickets for the quarter finals in Wellington, leaving tomorrow (Wednesday) while Club Travel, also based in the capital, is offering a four-night, all-in package for €3,800.

If you'd prefer to buy flights only and secure tickets when you arrive in New Zealand, the best fare is with Cathay Pacific to Auckland at €1,284 leaving tomorrow and returning next Wednesday, or direct to Wellington at €2,100, according to Trailfinders.

However, Irish rugby fans are nothing if not optimistic and while demand for tickets for the Welsh game is light, scores of diehard enthusiasts have contacted travel agencies to say that if Declan Kidney's boys win at the weekend, they will make the 37,000km round-trip to watch Ireland in what would be their first World Cup semi-final.

Even before Ireland stormed into the quarter-final stage, Killester Travel in Dublin fielded last-minute inquiries from those keen to undertake the mammoth journey for the semi-final and final clashes.

Antoinette Young, Killester Travel manager, said up to 40 people had expressed a strong interest in travelling for the latter stages of the tournament.

If Ireland wins on Saturday, the team will take on either England or France on Saturday October 15 at 9am, Irish time. That game would be in Auckland.

And if we were to win that match, we would find ourselves playing for the ultimate prize against either New Zealand, South Africa, Australia or Argentina in Auckland on October 23.


"For the semi-final and final, we have taken a list of registrations for people who will definitely go, so they have the cash and they will definitely go, subject to the outcome in the quarter final," Ms Young said.

"So we'll be on the blower to them on the Monday morning to say, we have you placed and we have the flights and accommodation."

Killester is offering a six-night stay in Auckland in a four-star hotel, including flights and a ticket for the bronze final on October 21 and final on October 23, for about €5,000.

Ms Young said around 20 people had committed to this package if Ireland beat Wales on Saturday. For those who have a bit more time on their hands and want to take in the semi-finals on October 15 and 16, as well as the final, they can fly out at a cost of €6,000.

Another 15 to 20 people have expressed a strong interest in this option, with all those wishing to travel already putting a €500 deposit on their flights.

But Ms Young said they would get their money back should they opt against travelling.

Club Travel said it was offering a 10-night package that would include tickets to the two semi-finals and the final, as well as flights and accommodation, for €5,900 per person.

Robbie Sinnott, sports tourism manager, said fans were "waiting and watching".

"Bags will be packed, should we get the right result on Saturday morning," he said.

Trevor Brennan Rugby Tours, based in Limerick, said demand was high from people wanting to travel in the wake of Sunday's match against Italy, but he added that prices for packages would not be finalised until today.

Irish Independent

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