New Zealand’s National Sevens Tournament will move to a new location and a new time of year to boost the number of top level players available to play, New Zealand Rugby has announced today.
The change will take effect after January’s Bayleys National Sevens in Rotorua, with the tournament then moving to Tauranga for the following three years starting in December 2018 where Tauranga Domain will play host to all the on-field action.
The move is hoped to see the best provincial talent available to compete and aligns the tournament with the high performance programmes of both the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens.
New Zealand Rugby High Performance Sevens Manager Tony Philp said the move is a great opportunity to get the nation’s top sevens players together at one event.
“Bringing the Nationals Sevens forward to December means that Unions will be able to call on players from their Mitre 10 Cup, Mitre 10 Heartland Championship and Farah Palmer Cup campaigns to be involved which will improve the standard of competition.
“It also provides a platform for selection to the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens for the following World Series.”
New Zealand Rugby acknowledged the efforts of Bay of Plenty and the Rotorua Lakes Council in hosting the National Sevens at Rotorua International Stadium for the past five years.
“We have enjoyed bringing the event to Rotorua and appreciate the efforts of all involved to make this tournament a success. It is exciting that the tournament will remain in the province and we look forward to our continued work with Bay of Plenty Rugby in delivering a fantastic event,” Philp said.
Bay of Plenty Chief Executive Mike Rogers said the Union was delighted the National Sevens would remain in the Bay.
“Sevens is a huge part of what we do and important to our community. We have enjoyed hosting this event in Rotorua for the past five years and are very grateful to our partners especially Rotorua Lakes Council for enabling us to grow this event into what it has become.
“Having the event in December in Tauranga gives us the ability to continue to evolve and grow the event as well as engaging with a different part of our Bay of Plenty community that will no doubt get in behind this event as has already been demonstrated by the fantastic support shown by the Tauranga City Council,” said Rogers.
Tauranga City Council Mayor Greg Brownless said hosting the National Sevens is an outstanding opportunity for the city.
“The passion and tradition of live rugby games is great for the fans and Tauranga gets a chance to show off everything that makes it such a great place to live. In addition to the economic benefits this tournament will deliver, it also gives our locals the opportunity to enjoy amazing experiences they can be proud of,” said Brownless.