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Sevens return to New Zealand

Exciting days await rugby sevens loving Pacific Islanders with international sevens action returning to Hamilton, New Zealand after an absence of two seasons.

In the new season of the World Sevens Series, the FMG Stadium in Waikato will light up from January 21-22 in 2023 to host the New Zealand leg.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and event partner 37 South Events announced the return of New Zealand’s biggest sporting party, signaling the end of a two-year absence due to COVID.

The resurrected Hamilton event would feature the full men’s and women’s draws.

Australia won the men’s competition at the London 7s. Picture: World Rugby

The 2023 version of a tournament that has been on the New Zealand sporting calendar for more than two decades would see the addition of a second playing field next to the FMG Stadium Waikato to enable the full men’s and women’s draws to be played over two action-packed days.

NZR Head of Tournaments and Competitions Cameron Good said the announcement was a feel-good moment after two tough and challenging years for the events industry due to the COVID pandemic.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing a truly international sporting event back to Aotearoa, back to Waikato and back to Hamilton,” he said.

“The New Zealand Sevens has been one of the highlights of the sporting summer since it moved to Hamilton in 2018.

Fans at the New Zealand 7s in 2018. Exciting days await rugby sevens loving Pacific Islanders with international sevens action returning to Hamilton, New Zealand after an absence of two seasons. Picture: World Rugby

“It’s great news for the local and regional economies and great news for all the fans, who have made it such a vibrant and colorful celebration of sevens.”

The managing director of 37 South Event and co-promoter of the Hamilton tournament Dallas Fisher said the news was a huge boost for the Waikato region.

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“It’s a major boost to the hospitality sector, tourism, local businesses and also the morale of the region since the tournament had injected about NZD3 million in new cash into the Waikato region’s economy during its first three editions in Hamilton and had created jobs both locally and across the region.

“We’re looking forward to putting on another great sevens party in Hamilton.

“We’ve seen from previous events that the sevens tournament brings people together from all parts of our community and we’re going to create a truly multicultural festival at the FMG Stadium in Waikato next year.

Australian women have won the 2021-2022 World Sevens Series. Picture: World Rugby

The chief executive officer at World Rugby Alan Gilpin said he was delighted that the New Zealand Sevens was back for next year.

“The future of sevens rugby is very bright and World Rugby is fully committed to the sustainable growth, innovation and success of the highly impactful and entertaining Olympic sport.”

The All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens will be defending their titles in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.

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