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Fans consider Sevens trek

Sam Groundwater (left), Berny Hall, Sam Monaghan, Robbie Anderson and Jordy Bell in costume for the Wellington Sevens. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

By Jake Beleski

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Wellington may have been stripped of the New Zealand leg of the World Sevens circuit, but some Wairarapa fans have not ruled out making the trek north to attend next year’s event.

Wellington has hosted the event every year since it debuted in 2000, but Hamilton will be the new home of the New Zealand leg for 2018 and 2019.

Robbie Anderson of Masterton has been to Wellington five times for the sevens, but said an increase in security and policing meant the event was not what it used to be.

“It is still an enjoyable day and night out but nothing like it once was . . . the sevens weekend was one of the highlights of the summer, if not the year, when it came to partying.”

The announcement of the shift in venue was made on Monday at FMG Stadium Waikato.

Reasons for the change included Hamilton having a world-class stadium built for rugby fans, a central location for travelling fans, and a host community that loves rugby.

Mr Anderson said if a change in venue could bring the event back to its glory days, then he would consider keeping it marked on his calendar.

“If Hamilton can put it on like Wellington once did and get a sell-out crowd I would have no hesitation in making the trip north.”

Sam Monaghan is another regular at the Wellington event, having attended seven times.

Seeing the stadium in Wellington only about a quarter full in recent years was disappointing, but there were still ways to make it enjoyable, he said.

“Like most events it’s about the people you go with as much as what you are watching, and I always went with my best mates so in that sense I still loved it.”

When the focus shifted from the “99 per cent who were well behaved”, to the “one per cent who were behaving badly”, it was the beginning of the end, he said.

“The event was a success because it was a great big party and if that wasn’t your thing you didn’t have to go.

“The goal was zero complaints and zero people kicked out . . . well in 2017 they achieved this goal but they also lost millions in revenue coming into the city from no one turning up.”

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