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NZ Sevens will move away from Hamilton next year but Fiji won't be hosts until 2023
9:47 pm GMT+12, 26/01/2020, New Zealand

Fiji will not host New Zealand's leg of the Sevens World Series until 2023 at the earliest and next year's event is shifting from Hamilton to another New Zealand city.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief rugby officer Nigel Cass, speaking on the first day of the 2020 Hamilton Sevens, said the governing body was initially hoping to take the sevens to Fiji as soon as next year.

Hamilton replaced Wellington as hosts in 2018 and the move has been a resounding success on and off the field, but NZR wants to keep its flagship sevens tournament fresh and innovative.

Cass confirmed Hamilton would be hosts again in 2022 but revealed a tournament in Fiji, the spiritual home of sevens, could not happen next year because of a lack of infrastructure

"We were working with the Fijians and were really hopeful of getting a tournament in Fiji for 2021," Cass said on Saturday.

"Unfortunately, you can appreciate from the venue [Waikato Stadium], there isn't the infrastructure for a tournament of this type.

"For next year, that's not going to be possible in Fiji. We're not giving up, though.

"We're really, really keen, as are the Fijians, to make it work and we remain really hopeful for [hosting it] there in 2023."

Cass said there were a "number of options" for hosts in New Zealand next year but wouldn't expand on which cities had expressed an interest.

"It's a great thing to have it in Hamilton every other year," he said.

"We're talking with a number of parties about a one-off event, a really special one to host the sevens."

Cass did not rule out Wellington retaining hosting rights after its long association with the tournament from 2000-17.

However, it seems unlikely the sevens would make a shock return to the capital after interest dramatically fizzled out in its final years there.

Possible host cities next year could be, among others, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier, Queenstown, Rotorua or Tauranga.

Cass said discussions were underway for the 2021 tournament after NZR decided against taking it to Fiji.

SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS


 


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