Queenstown sevens snatch unlikely

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It’s got low crowds and little atmosphere.

But Rotorua looks set to remain the home of the national sevens tournament for the foreseeable future.

The tournament took place at Rotorua International Stadium over the weekend, the second year it has been played in the Bay of Plenty, after 10 years in Queenstown.

The sparse spectators are in contrast to Queenstown, which constantly attracted packed crowds and a fun atmosphere.

Rotorua won the right to host the tournament for two years in 2014 and 2015 and had a right of renewal for another two years.

With support from the Rotorua District Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, the event appears to be staying in Rotorua for the next couple of years.

Queenstown organisers have accepted the tournament will not return to the resort anytime soon.

Sevens with Altitude operations manager Brad Patterson, of Queenstown, says there has been no discussion among the group about getting the event back to Queenstown.

“We’re not hopeful of it returning to Queenstown. There was a tender process a few years ago where we put in a tender and, unfortunately, did not get picked.

“The event was really well supported here and it became something people really looked forward to in the new year.

“But we went through a fair tender process and lost out.”

The sevens tournament was revitalised when Queenstown first hosted it in 2004 and it continued to get big crowds over the years the resort staged it.

Patterson says: “We worked pretty hard to put on a good event and then we lost the right to host it, which was unfortunate.”

The event raised more than $100,000 for local charities – but the resort lost the right to hold the tournament after a former police detective, Richie Anderson, defrauded Sevens with Altitude of more than $60,000.

No-one returned calls from the Bay of Plenty Rugby union yesterday.

Otago Daily Times