Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Australia fans going for gold

More than 50,000 'lion-hunting pith helmets' have been produced in a bid to combat inevitable masses of Lions fans

Australia supporters will be given gold-coloured safari hats to wear during the three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions.

More than 50,000 of the "lion-hunting pith helmets" have been produced in a bid to combat inevitable masses of Lions fans at the Test venues in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Around 15,000 hats will be handed out in Brisbane on Saturday week, a further 15,000 in Melbourne seven days later and then more than 20,000 for the July 6 Sydney finale.

"We always urge Wallabies fans to 'Be Bold Wear Gold', but that catch-cry has never been more important than it is now," Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver said.

"This has been a tour 12 years in the making. It is an incredibly important moment in our rugby history.

"Added to that, we have the Lions here supported by tens of thousands of fans who will do their best to paint our stadiums red with their jerseys and face painting, their flags and hats.

"Australia was caught unawares in 2001. The sea of red was a dominant feature at the Gabba (in Brisbane) for the first Test, and the Wallabies felt like they were playing away at a stadium in the United Kingdom.

"We don't want a repeat of that here in 2013."

More than 100,000 spectators watched the Lions' opening three Australia tour games in Perth. Brisbane and Newcastle, and the total figure by the end is expected to approach 400,000, an increase of more than 30% on the 2001 tour.

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