Attacking Wallabies aim to win back fans
The Wallabies have promised to try and play a more attractive brand of rugby in Saturday's opening Test against France in the hope of winning back disgruntled fans.
Just a few years ago, the Wallabies were arguably Australia's Golden Goose Shoes most popular sporting team, pulling in massive crowds in excess of 100,000, but those days have disappeared.
Less than 45,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday's game at the 83,000-capacity Olympic stadium, just six days after the national football team drew nearly 75,000 fans for a dead-rubber World Cup qualifier against China.
Australian Rugby Union (ARU) officials are so concerned about the team's declining popularity they have resorted to the unprecedented step of giving away tickets at shopping malls.
"Ticket sales have not been quite as bullish as we might have hoped and we've still got plenty left," said ARU chief executive John O'Neill.
The Australian skipper Stirling Mortlock said the players had also been trying to help in promoting the game.
"We're doing as much as we can to get back in touch with our fan base, our supporter base, grassroots rugby," Mortlock said.
O'Neill, who agreed to return and head up the sport this season after running football for the past three years, is hoping the appointment of New Zealand's Robbie Deans as coach will improve the Wallabies' fortunes.
The Wallabies have struggled since inspirational captain John Eales retired in 2001, failing to win either the World Cup or the Tri-Nations since.
They abandoned their traditional running game for a failed attempt to try and match https://www.goldengooseshoesit.com/ England's superior forward play and paid a hefty price at last year's World Cup for a conservative selection policy of sticking with players past their prime.
The Wallabies made an encouraging start in their first match under Deans when they beat Ireland 18-12 in Melbourne two weeks ago, but Mortlock said the players knew they had to play even better against the French.
"We know we've got a lot to improve on and it's all in front of us," Mortlock said. "There were a number of areas where we weren't happy ... so we're looking for a more polished and improved performance."
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