Pic: World Rugby
Admittedly, it was rather disappointing to follow the first day of the Wellington Sevens, witnessing a 34,500 seater that looked empty. Considering that tickets for this tournament used to be the most popular in town, the organisers seemed to struggle with ticket sales this year. Stricter rules on alcohol consumption and an attempt to make the event more family-friendly didn’t attract the desired numbers. Officially, around 10.000 people visited the tournament on Saturday. Hopefully, numbers will pick up again on the second day and in future, because the Wellington Sevens are one of the most prestigious stops on the circuit.
Whereas the atmosphere off the pitch was nowhere near the usual party bash that we all love, the quality on the pitch didn’t let anyone down. Hosts New Zealand went, as expected, unbeaten through day one. The big surprise though came from Canada. The North-Americans won all three of their pool games against Wales, Scotland and Russia to set up a quarter-final against Argentina on Sunday.
In the "Pool of death", current series leaders South Africa beat Fiji, Australia and Japan. Besides New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, England also remained unbeaten as they overcame Papua New Guinea (40-0), Argentina (26-7) and Kenya (31-12).
The Cup quarter-finals on Sunday see England play Scotland, New Zealand face Fiji, Canada take on Argentina, while South Africa play France.
Day 2 of the Wellington Sevens starts tomorrow at 11.00am local time (22.00 UK time). You can follow all matches on Sky Sports or here.