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Wales’ ground-breaking match against South Africa in Washington DC in doubt due to poor ticket sales

Photo: (Getty Images)

By Jake Jones

Wales’ June Test in the USA is feared to be in serious doubt as unrest grows in the US due to miserable ticket sales and the impending collapse of the company staging the fixture, part-funded by the RFU and Harlequins.

Wales are set to play South Africa on June 2 in Washington DC before they tour Argentina and the Springboks face England back home. The two sides last met in the autumn with Hadleigh Parkes grabbing a brace of tries on debut to seal a 24-22 win for the Welsh.

The match was set up by a promotional company which has RFU Chief Executive Stephen Brown as a board member.

But as that company – Rugby International Marketing (RIM) – rapidly burns money, with a monumental £3m ($4.2 million) lost by the end of 2017, there are growing concerns surrounding Wales’ US Test.

Wales and South Africa have reportedly had their original match fee of £720,000 ($1m) reduced to £540,000 ($750,000) and it is understood the Test may need around 27,000 supporters to turn up at the 46,000-capacity RFK Stadium to break even.

For their part it is understood South Africa are not too concerned by the fee reduction as the match will give them an all important foothold in the US market, one which so many are trying to crack.

But with only a small portion of tickets sold and less than six weeks until kick-off there have been high-level discussions at USA Rugby about changing the date, venue and even the teams for the Washington DC fixture – with Wales or South Africa potentially playing the USA instead.

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