National Rugby Sevens organiser Richie Anderson will battle tooth and nail to keep the tournament in Queenstown.
“I ain’t gonna let it go without a fight,” Anderson says.
After last weekend’s tournament – his eighth at Queenstown’s Recreation Ground – rivals are circling Anderson’s highly successful event.
“It’s been very, very popular since we’ve been running it,” he says ruefully.
Anderson brought the Sevens to Queenstown in 2004, after the event sagged in Palmerston North – there’s another year to run on his existing three-year contract.
Bay of Plenty and Wellington are prime rivals, he says. His employers, the Otago Rugby Football Union, will also soon have a swanky new Dunedin stadium to fill – but Anderson won’t comment on that.
“It’s the ORFU’s tournament and we’re subcontracted by them to run it,” Arrowtowner Anderson says diplomatically.
His first priority is sponsorship – no funding, no tournament – so he hopes Pub Charity renew their $200,000-plus contribution.
Anderson anticipates a decision on the 2012 Sevens within two months.
Can Queenstown help?
“What Queenstown did over last weekend – two beautiful days, 4500 people daily, not one ounce of trouble – that’s what Queenstown can do.”