ARU unsure about Gold Coast Sevens future

Fiji's Apisai Domolailai goes in for a try against Samoa in the final. Photo: IRB

Fiji’s Apisai Domolailai goes in for a try against Samoa in the final. Photo: IRB

The future of the Gold Coast Sevens rugby tournament remains unclear after another disappointing attendance at the event on the weekend.

Officially 20,546 attended the two-day event in Robina, an underwhelming return when compared to some of the marquee stops on the tour such as Hong Kong, Wellington or London.

With the four-year deal with the Queensland Government to host the sevens on the Gold Coast now at an end, it’s unsure if the event will return in 2015.

The Australian Rugby Union says it’s waiting on the International Rugby Board announcing which nations will host events next year before confirming a location for the tournament.

“We’ve gone a long way down the path with the IRB,” Gold Coast Sevens project manager Tom Matson said.

“We thought we’d be in a position before the Gold Coast Sevens to know where it was going but it looks like there’s probably another few weeks in it.

“It’s a little bit premature to be talking locations when we haven’t got rights to host, or confirmation to host, for the next number of years yet.”

Matson said while the ARU had formally bid for a leg of the series next year, no venue had been put forward with “several states” showing interest.

New Zealand Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens expressed his amazement at the Gold Coast event’s failure, saying he felt there’s no reason Australia cannot host a successful sevens event.

“I’m disappointed here that you don’t get bigger crowds in Australia,” Tietjens said.

“The game is really marketed in huge ways and in other countries you’re getting 50-60,000.

“At the Comm Games in Scotland in our final there was 56,000, even in our pool games.

“It’s amazing it hasn’t taken off here because in New Zealand it’s a sellout all the time, 35-40,000.”

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Filed under Fiji Rugby Union, Flying Fijians, IRB, IRB Sevens series

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