Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a journalist based in Auckland.

Sevens fans keep cops busy

Rowdy Sevens fans kept police in the capital busy overnight as they spilled into town to celebrate the end of the two-day tournament.

Police said there were 55 arrests in Wellington overnight, mostly for disorderly behaviour fuelled by alcohol and breaches of the liquor ban.

The after-party antics come after five arrests and 30 evictions at Westpac Stadium yesterday, and four arrests and eight evictions on Friday.

The annual Sevens tournament has become as known for its off-field behaviour as the action on it, but police say the behaviour this year has been better than in previous years.

Sevens operation commander Inspector Simon Perry said many of the arrests at the stadium were for minor offences such as fighting and offensive behaviour.

He said staff at the stadium had noticed a higher standard of behaviour than in previous tournaments.

Although there were more evictions yesterday than the previous day, improved measures regarding drunk people entering the stadium had a positive effect on the crowd.

Wellington Free Ambulance spokesman Daniel Paul said triage units at the stadium and in the central city were "pretty busy".

He said 62 people needed treatment at the stadium, six of whom were taken to hospital with injuries including chest pains, an injured neck, a fractured wrist, a fractured eye socket and alcohol-related illness.

The triage unit in town mostly attended to drunk revellers.

Mr Paul said minor cuts were also an issue due to people with bare feet standing on broken glass.

"Overall, there was a big increase on normal Saturday night job numbers, but the mood was pretty good and people were quite well-behaved. It was a good-spirited crowd for what was a bloody big crowd."

Mr Paul said a doctor was on site at the triage unit, which allowed staff to treat a wider variety of patients who might otherwise have to be taken to hospital emergency departments.

"It takes a huge workload off the paramedics, off the ambulance and off the EDs."

On day one, ambulance staff treated 53 people for intoxication.

Hertz Sevens general manager Steve Walters yesterday said the spirit at the 35,000-capacity stadium had been "fantastic".

He said the number of arrests was too many, but still relatively low considering the number of people in the stadium.

Mr Walters said the costumes and the quality of the rugby were highlights.

"Seeing the amount of energy that people are putting into their costumes - some of them are so extravagant and detailed, it's amazing."

- APNZ

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