It’s just a party. If you’ve ever watched the Wellington Sevens and wondered why the stands are mostly empty when the tickets sell out in twenty minutes, it’s ‘cos the crowd is all under the stands having a whale of a time.
What is it with dressing up, though? Watching Hurricanes matches from the Cake Tin, you always see a couple of muppets in the crowd in costume braving the pissing rain, make you wonder if you were there for the rugby or what. The Sevens, though, takes away all that bother about watching a game so you can fully concentrate on your get-up, and people go to huge efforts to outfit themselves and their mates in elaborate costumes. For the ladies, it was all about cleavage, with saucy policewomen, saucy taxi drivers, and saucy air stewardesses to the fore. But for the lads, it’s all about lycra. Jesus, the lycra, there were super heroes, wrestlers, aerobic instructors, if it was slinky and it stretched, it was there, with everyone being obsessively photographed on cameras and phones. There were at least 40 Crocodile Hunters, some going with the controversial Sting Ray wound option. Star of the weekend was The Borat, a guy brave / foolish enough to wear that Lime green over the shoulder G-string down Lampton Quay to the match – he wound up on the front page of the Dominion Post with a follow up story on Waitangi day. Most impressive was the Gimp sitting in front of us on Saturday, promoting much speculation on logistics every time he nipped to the loo.
As for the rugby, well, most people don’t bother to even start watching matches until late Saturday. In keeping with the spirit of the weekend, there was huge support for the under dogs, like Kenya and Portugal, who walked off with some trophy or other after beating Scotland. New Zealand looked like what they were – guys not good enough to be included in the Super 14 thrown together at the last minute, despite the best efforts of Titch and Eric Rush. The final was a huge boil-over, Fiji were looking skillful and very strong until they met the hard tacking Samoans, who gave them no space to work their magic at all.
The IRB sees Sevens as a way to promote the game without all that pesky rucking, mauling and having to watch Rugby for an hour and a half. While Sevens has more tradition than say, 20/20 cricket, in NZ the tournament is an excuse for a party, and for two days 30,000 odd people had a bloody good time, without a hint of trouble that I saw, and you can’t say fairer than that. The Cake Tin is a superbly appointed and located venue – we were out of the stadium and having a drink on the waterfront about half an hour after the final whistle. If you’re not bothered about watching Rugby, the Sevens is a highly recommended experience, in New Zealand’s best city for a weekend away.
Bring out the Gimp.
Borats. Note the traumatised child bottom right.
I got ‘interviewed’ by the One Network News team, who were quite a larf. They don’t like Judy Bailey, though.