Seven at the Sevens: Reasons to watch

Rugby Sevens fans enjoy the atmosphere during last year's Wellington Sevens. Photo /Getty Images
Rugby Sevens fans enjoy the atmosphere during last year's Wellington Sevens. Photo /Getty Images

Everyone knows Wellington puts on a good show, and the Wellington Sevens is no exception. One of the jewels in the capital's sporting crown, the event enters its 14th year on Friday. Matiu Workman discovered seven reasons as to why people should watch the 2014 edition.

7. Who will pose a threat in Rio
With just over two-and-a-half years and 23 Sevens World Series events to go until the world descends on Rio de Janeiro, every tournament is crucial for the teams. While teams like New Zealand and South Africa hold a dominant position atop the 2013-14 standings, teams like the United States, Wales and Kenya will be using the events to get up to speed and become a realistic challenger at the greatest show on Earth, the 2016 Olympics.

6. 'I knew him before he was famous'
A number of rugby stars have made their mark on the New Zealand leg. Players such as Jonah Lomu, Liam Messam, Victor Vito and Julia Savea have all graced the Wellington Sevens stage, and this year's exciting crop of talent means there are plenty of players that punters will be able to say they saw in the flesh at the Sevens.

5. Jonah's back
All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu's return to the Wellington Sevens as the tournament ambassador is a heartwarming addition to the event. For members of the sporting public who have followed the kidney troubles that robbed him of immortal status, seeing Lomu on their screens will bring back memories of his exploits on the field. A poignant reason, if nothing else.

4. Better access to tickets
The establishment of the Auckland Nines, rugby league's rival sporting event, has meant punters no longer have to have their fingers at the ready on the Ticketek website to purchase tickets. The lack of a sell out is also sure to put off scammers and those looking to make a quick buck on Trade Me. The easy ticket availability means there is plenty of time to organise those Miley Cyrus outfits. Which leads us to...

3. The costumes
Wellington's position as the creative capital of New Zealand stands unparalleled. From hordes of Lordes to a precious collection of Gollums, expect plenty of newsmakers from the past year to feature as the trendiest costumes at Westpac Stadium. The creativity of Sevens fans has seen tournament organisers create a competition where the best costumes are rewarded with cash - as if anyone needed any more of an incentive!

2. For the upsets
Rugby fans the world over know Spain's chances of beating Canada in a 15-a-side match are almost non-existent. Throw the teams into the Sevens arena, however, and there is every possibility that one of rugby's minnows are more than a chance of beating a 'core' team. In fact, Spain won the last meeting between the two teams - a 26-12 thumping in Port Elizabeth in December.

1. To see NZ return to the Sevens summit
Nobody likes coming second. New Zealand have made three finals in the 2013-14 series, including the last two events, but haven't won since the season-opening Gold Coast leg. The run of the draw could see a dream final between New Zealand and series-leaders South Africa, with the winner securing top spot on the 2013-14 ladder with four events remaining. At present, one point seperates the two teams atop the standings, while Fiji trail by 21 points in third.

With the Wellington event the fifth of nine events, the tournament could have a significant outcome on the standings at the end of the series.

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