29 Jan 2017

Tietjens on Sevens: 'Atmosphere is a shocker'

5:36 pm on 29 January 2017

Former New Zealand Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens has lamented the decline of the Wellington Sevens tournament and says the city was like a "ghost town" yesterday.

Sir Gordon Tietjens said the Wellington Sevens was a well run tournament but the city had been like a 'ghost town'.

Sir Gordon Tietjens said the Wellington Sevens was a well run tournament but the city had been like a 'ghost town'. Photo: AFP

The event's manager, Steve Dunbar, said about 10,000 people watched the rugby yesterday.

That is well down on last year's Saturday attendance of about 14,000, and a far cry from previous years when tickets swiftly sold out.

Sir Gordon lamented the decline of the tournament.

"If you talk about Wellington, it's just like a ghost town, it's terrible, the atmosphere here is just a shocker," he said.

"I'm not saying that to be disrespectful - I think it's a well-run tournament and always has been - there's just not the people here."

Mr Dunbar is expecting a larger crowd of about 15,000 to turn up today.

"Numbers were a little disappointing yesterday, but the rugby is only going to get better on day two," he said.

"There's no doubt it's more difficult to sell tickets than ever before, we are making some changes to the tournament and we're just hopeful people enjoy those changes."

He said organisers would assess the tournament's future in the next few weeks.

After New Zealand were roundly beaten by Fiji 26-10 in Sunday's quarter-final, the All Blacks Sevens coach, Scott Waldrom, observed Fiji enjoyed the lion's share of support from the crowd.

"It definitely didn't feel like home town support," said Waldrom.

"There were far more Fijians."

Fiji supporters celebrate in Wellington.

Fiji supporters celebrate in Wellington. Photo: Photosport

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.