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Wave your beer goodbye at the sevens

By Simon Kay

Sevens rugby is currently riding the crest of a wave with this year's inaugural World Series.

And when the sevens circus rolled into the capital, riding the crest of the wave - Mexican wave, that is - which circled WestpacTrust Stadium was a variety of rugby-watching accessories.

Namely, plastic beer cups - many empty, some not - and beer cup holders. Of the 18,000 there for the first day and the 30,000 there for the second, this sevens tournament in Wellington was the first for just about everyone there.

And you can bet most will be back for rugby's equivalent of one-day cricket. Expect a sell-out next year.

The only downside - aside from the ludicrously long beer queues - was the 24-14 defeat to Fiji in the final. Looking back now, it's hard to believe New Zealand were such hot favourites just because Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen were drafted into Gordon Tietjen's well-performed squad.

Even the notoriously-stingy TAB were paying more than $3 for a tournament victory by the Fijian squad which included Counties Manukau's Api Naevo.

The All Black pair may have been sensations at Hong Kong once upon a time but Fijian Filimoni Delasau is very much the man of the moment. Averaging 13 tries a tournament during the first half of the World Series is ample proof of that.

New Zealand's first-ever sevens game on home soil was an unconvincing 21-12 win over the Cook Islands. Lomu looked a bit pudgy. Maybe it was the cut of the new adidas gear but he sports a build which hints that once his playing days are over, Big Jonah will start looking more like Fat Albert.

The prospect of fronting up to a rampaging Lomu should make a player as nervous as a haemophiliac having a shave. But he was only good for one big run a game, a luxury no sevens side can afford.

Justin Wilson, Karl Tenana and Malili Muliala, marshalled by the evergreen Eric Rush - an astonishing 12 years older than every other team mate - are the go-to guys now.

Memo to the merchandisers: knock those bloody plastic trumpets on the head before that's what happens to the people blowing them. As every parent knows, never buy a child a noisy toy.

The single-tier circular WestpacTrust Stadium - dubbed the Cake Tin or the Hat Box by some locals - is an impressive venue. Once the beverage supply problems are sorted, the World Series Sevens should be the stadium's most eagerly-anticipated sporting event.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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