Wales' matches against England at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday 23 August, Scotland the following Saturday and Romania in Wrexham on Wednesday 27 August are now open-house for the general public - and fans, for the first time, can pick up tickets at their local Tesco stores as well as buying online at wru.co.uk and from the WRU hotline, 08705 582 582.
The innovative move is part of a concerted attempt by the WRU to become more customer friendly and reach out into communities with its ticketing policy, instead of putting the onus on fans to come to the Union or buy through clubs.
"Supermarkets can become the focal point of community life and we are trying to reach out to fans who may not otherwise have known tickets were available, as well as make it easier for those who want to buy to get their tickets early," said WRU marketing manager Gwyn Thomas. "We have made no secret of the fact that tickets for these matches are moving at a slower rate than we would have liked, but equally we are sure that the demand is still out there to far outweigh the supply. "We just have to be a little more savvy in the presentation of our ticket packages, in order to tap into it."
WRU chief executive David Moffett commented this week that the current ticketing policy in place at the Union has served to inhibit sales, and Thomas believes that this new step can only have a positive effect on the movement of tickets.
"From my own days in the marketing department at Tesco, I know what a powerful selling force the major consumer outlets can provide," added Thomas. "Tickets for Wales games come under the same 'Fast Moving Consumer Goods' bracket as products like clothing, cosmetics, alcohol and luxury foods, to coin a marketing term. And there is no reason why the Welsh public wouldn't enjoy picking up a ticket to see the national side take on England at the Millennium Stadium alongside their weekly shop for tinned goods or the Sunday roast. We are expecting this new initiative to be a success and hope that we achieve our aim of making tickets to watch Wales more accessible to the general public. Once fans realise they can watch an historic match against England, where the World Cup favourites can equal the all-time series at 49-all if they win, or Scotland for the price of a few of bottles of wine, a case of beer or a couple of steaks then the tickets will begin to move."
All of the bargain price Â£10 tickets, specifically targeted at school children, have sold out for the England game - the price range remaining is Â£30, Â£25 and Â£15.
The same range applies to the Scotland match, although there are Â£10 tickets left for that match and a family of four can attend on a special ticket for just Â£25. The Romania match in Wrexham is selling at Â£15, Â£10, Â£6 and Â£5 (terrace) for adults and just Â£2 and Â£1 (terrace) for under-16s.
There is also an additional ticket hotline, 0161 3853214 alongside the existing line into the Millennium Stadium, 08705 582 582, which also offers tickets to the UEFA Cup first round, second leg tie between Manchester City and Mid Wales club TNS. Tickets can also be bought online at www.wru.co.uk or from the Millennium Stadium ticket office at 98 St Mary Street, Cardiff.
TICKETS WILL BE ON SALE IN TESCO STORES ACCORDING TO THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULE - THE SCHEME WILL BE EXPANDED DEPENDANT ON SUCCESS:
Date Day Tesco Store Timings
29.07.2003 Tuesday Pontypridd 11am - 5pm
30.07.2003 Wednesday Pontypridd 11am - 5pm
31.07.2003 Thursday Pontypridd 11am - 5pm
01.08.2003 Friday Newport Extra 11am - 5pm
02.08.2003 Saturday Newport Extra 11am - 5pm
07.08.2003 Thursday Neath Abbey 11am - 5pm
08.08.2003 Friday Neath Abbey 11am - 5pm
09.08.2003 Saturday Neath Abbey 11am - 5pm
14.08.2003 Thursday Llanelli 11am - 5pm
15.08.2003 Friday Llanelli 11am - 5pm
16.08.2003 Saturday Llanelli 11am - 5pm