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Capital city shines for the super Sevens weekend

Dec 5th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Lead Story, Sport

SEVENS RESULTSCLICK HERE>

STORY: Penelope Scott. PICTURES: Kimberley Crayton-Brown, Carl Suurmond.

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SEVENS KING: NZ sevens rugby coach Gordon Tietjens at the Wellington parade.

ORGANISERS of Wellington’s big sevens rugby weekend must be getting some good weather advice.

The Friday-Saturday annual event – expected to draw 70,000 people – kicked off at Westpac Stadium in sunshine, and the weather was forecast to hold until Saturday night.

As usual this summer, the Capital was due for a half-fine-half-wet weekend, with the Met Service predicting rain only developing on Sunday evening.

The Sevens means the city becomes a swarming mass of colour and costume, with thousands swarming in and injecting millions into local businesses.  Two in five come from out of town.

“In rough terms, a full house at the Sevens would bring in around $8 million [a day for the city,” says city councilor John Morrison.

“So over the course of the weekend, that is around the $15-16 million mark.”

john75Mr Morrison (left) says the Sevens has become an iconic national event, with people clamouring for tickets. It was becoming more and more popular each year.

The event began with Thursday’s Sevens parade in Lambton Quay.

The NZ team currently leads the IRB Sevens World Series, with wins in the first two tournaments in Dubai and South Africa.

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Kenyan team.

Coach Gordon Tietjens named a largely experienced squad of 12, with one debutant, 21-year-old Fritz Lee of Counties Manukau.

It was a hard decision, says Tietjens. There were a lot of players putting their hand up for selection.

“I have picked an experienced side and hopefully the team can continue with the great start they have had to the series.”

Tietjens, who has won eight of the 10 World Series titles contested so far, says playing at home is a “pretty special” tournament.

“The players know there is a little more pressure and expectation than usual.
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Glen Osborne with the Sevens Cup.

“But they want to get out there and really turn it on for the home crowd.”

With a current standing of 48 points, the NZ team is top of the table, with Fiji following on 36 points.

NZ drew Wales in its first game, a reminder to the home side that last year the Welshmen beat the Kiwis in their pool match.

After the Wellington competition, the series heads to Las Vegas for the third leg  next weekend.

New Zealand Sevens team: DJ Forbes (captain), Kurt Baker, Tomasi Cama, , Paul Grant, Tim Mikkelson, Zar Lawrence, Fritz Lee, Lote Raikabula, Ben Souness, Sherwin Stowers, Nafi Tuitavake, Save Tokula.

PICTURES FROM THE PARADE

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