One of the world’s greatest sevens players has spoken of his sadness over the apparent demise of the Wellington tournament.
Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and six-time World Sevens series champion Eric Rush said the Wellington event used to be the highlight of the international sevens calendar. …
“It was the best tournament on the circuit back then. Now, it’s probably one of the worst in terms of crowd numbers.
In the days when tickets sold out in seven minutes, the number of people wanting to attend was probably close to 100,000.
Rush, a 29-Test All Black, and New Zealand Sevens representative for 17 years, last attended the Wellington tournament two years ago. “She was empty, mate. It was sad, really sad.
“I think the [NRL Auckland] Nines killed a lot of it, plus the prices were less than $100 the first year, then it got up to $200 which would’ve put a few people off. Food prices and the fun police killed it too.”
That combination sounds right – prices too high, the fun police and competition.
He said other cities on the circuit had flourished, while crowd numbers in New Zealand had plummeted.
“It’s a real hard one because every other tournament sells out now, except for ours
This is the key statement. What happened to the Wellington Sevens was not inevitable. It was not just that people got bored. The local authorities and management killed it off.