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Still no home for 2021 NZ sevens leg
8:45 pm GMT+12, 27/01/2020, New Zealand

It was double delight for the New Zealand men's and women's teams at the Hamilton Sevens, but they don't know where they'll be defending their titles next year.

The Black Ferns soundly defeated Canada 24-7 and the All Black Sevens clobbered France 27-5, their first win on home soil since 2016.

About 20,000 people were at Waikato Stadium for the finals on Sunday.

The crowd, many of them wearing fancy dress costumes and really getting into the spirit of sevens rugby, sweltered in one of Hamilton's hottest days, with the gauge hitting over 30 degrees for most of the day.

They did not come away disappointed.

''Brilliant. Beautiful, New Zealand won and that's good. All Blacks all the way," one fan said.

"A terrific result yes, magnificent result. It was very exciting and the highlight was New Zealand's win,'' another said.

All Blacks sevens co-captain Tim Mikkelson described the win as awesome, with all 12 players in the side making their mark, and not losing any of their matches throughout the tournament.

''I think that is the strength of this group. It doesn't matter who starts or who comes off the bench, everyone brings impact and we saw that late at the end of the games when the bench came on and they lifted our game, and yeah, full credit to the boys.''

Kelly Brazier, playing in her 30th series for the Black Ferns sevens, said to be able to come out on home soil and win was a pretty wicked feeling.

''Yeah, when we sort of just get the chance to run out on that field and obviously being at home a lot of the girls first time was an experience in itself, so that is probably why you saw a lot of smiles and I guess just looking around the crowd and seeing friends and family and all the supporters was pretty special.''

Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate said the last three years that Hamilton has hosted the New Zealand Sevens has been a real boost for the local community.

''Well I think it was excellent for the city. For a start it seals the view that we can host international level elite sports in our city and do a great job. We do a great job. We have done a great job.''

The economic benefit for the city has been calculated at about $5 million for each event.

Tournament co-promoter Dallas Fisher said the New Zealand leg of the Sevens World Series would be held in another, yet unnamed, city next year and would return to Hamilton in 2022.

''I am a believer in the long-term vision of the event and I think you need to refresh over time and the fact that we are going to alternate every second year, I think in the long run it's a good thing.''

World Rugby Sevens series director Doug Langley said alternating the event between Hamilton and other places would keep it fresh.

''You don't want saturation and fan fatigue as it were. So keep the interest going, move it around, make it a little bit different, bring it back. Whatever the best option is to keep the interest there.''

World Rugby has in the past mentioned Fiji as a host venue and is still not ruling it out.

Langley said the logistics of it still had to be sorted.

''The idea of bringing 28 teams to a venue... we have to make sure everything is in place and robust enough to deal with that. To protect the sevens series of course, but also to protect the Fijian Rugby Union. Making sure they can deliver that and without any negative ramifications of that.''

The Sevens World Series road show now moves to Sydney next weekend.

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS


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