New Zealand Sevens fans got the perfect 21st birthday gift as the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens won their respective men’s and women’s titles at the 2020 HSBC New Zealand Sevens in Hamilton.
The home team’s dual-titles capped a thrilling weekend on Saturday that saw a costume-wearing crowd of nearly 20,000 enjoy the rugby and the party at FMG Stadium Waikato in equal doses as the mercury tipped 30 degrees.
The Black Ferns ran away with an historic first 2020 HSBC New Zealand Sevens women’s trophy by overcoming Canada 24-7 in the Cup final, while the All Blacks Sevens beat France 27-5 to lift the Cup in Hamilton for the first time in three tries.
HSBC New Zealand Sevens General Manager Steve Dunbar said the intensity of the respective finals had been a fitting finale for the tournament’s 21st edition on 25-26 January.
“We had 18,000 on Saturday, and nearly 20,000 on Sunday, near-perfect weather and two extremely popular champions who had to really fight hard for their titles, so we couldn’t have asked for much more.”
The tournament had been bigger than ever with the addition of a 12-team women draw marking the first fully integrated men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament on New Zealand soil.
“We are proud of the fact we’ve made history for women’s rugby and when you consider we’ve attracted sell-out crowds in 2018 and 2019 we are pretty pleased overall.
“Next year another New Zealand venue will host the event and I think everyone would agree Hamilton has set a very high bar.”
37 South Managing Director and co-promoter Dallas Fisher said the past three years had showed the value of catering to a wide variety of event goers.
“What a fitting way to cap off three incredibly successful events in Hamilton. We’ve had the support of the city and the community all the way and we can’t wait to come back in 2022.
“We’ve seen that Sevens fans respond to being provided with a range of options for young and old, including quality food and beverage, a great line up of entertainment options and world class rugby.”
Off the field, the crowd ebbed and flowed through the tournament between the main bowl and the Mill Street Entertainment Zone where popular New Zealand music acts, including reggae-roots band Sons of Zion and singer-song writer Mitch James entertained thousands in the R18 area of the venue.
Fans were well behaved with two arrests through the tournament and St John were kept quiet with only one patient taken to hospital for treatment.
New Zealand’s on-field success saw both the Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens extend their respective lead at the top of the World Sevens Series women’s and men’s standings.
Fiji’s loyal army of fans were again added their voice and colour to the stands despite their men’s team missing out on the semi-finals. The HBSC World Sevens Series now moves to Sydney.
Full results for the 2020 HSBC New Zealand Sevens can be found here