Former Rugby World Cup boss Martin Snedden says Auckland is the only viable option to replace Wellington as host World Rugby sevens leg in New Zealand.

And even then, he thinks the event won't work in the country's biggest city.

The former Duco Events CEO and chief executive of Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd told Radio Sport Breakfast the big question is whether the Sevens has not only run its course in Wellington, but whether the whole country is over the event.

"The sevens has affectively done its dash in Wellington, without doubt," Snedden told RSB.

"Should it go somewhere else in New Zealand? Well, the starting point really is, 'is the Sevens as an event that is something that's going to succeed still in New Zealand'?.

Advertisement

"It did do for many many years, but is starting to run out."

Listen: Martin Snedden on the Radio Sport Breakfast

According to reports, Auckland, Hamilton, Dunedin and Christchurch have all been mentioned as possible replacement venues for the New Zealand leg of the World Sevens Series, which Westpac Stadium has hosted since 2000. Crowd figures in Wellington have dropped dramatically in recent years, from where the event was often a sell-out within hours to less than a third of tickets sold for this year's tournament.

Snedden ruled Dunedin out of the running and said Auckland is the only viable option, but that depends on whether the NRL Nines is still hosted by Eden Park.

"Sevens is not a sport that we necessarily connect with. It's nowhere near as strong as 15s and so I would have a question mark as to whether or not Sevens as an event would be popular anywhere else.

"That's the first question I think anyone has got to ask themselves, if they're going to put their hands up to host it. And secondly, there are a lot of timing issues with the Sevens.

"For instance, I've seen people talking about taking it down to Dunedin. Well, the event's at the end of January, when there are no students.

"Dunedin has a very small population and, geographically, it's a long long away from other parts where fans might be interested in the event. I don't think it would succeed in Dunedin."

"The only viable option, in the end, is Auckland and even then, it's only a viable option, firstly, if the Nines isn't on, because you can't run the two events week after week. I think they would cannibalise each other.

"Secondly, it comes back to the question, which is does the Sevens have a future as an event in New Zealand?."

In his role at Duco, Snedden oversaw the running of the NRL Auckland Nines and Joseph Parker's run to his heavyweight world title fight over Andy Ruiz Jnr last year.

He said rugby sevens' problem in New Zealand is that no one knows the players in our own national team, let alone the opponents' players, and that Wellington's attempt to tone done the partying aspect of the event was always going to be a hard sell.

"I could see them absolutely caught twixt and tween in the last couple of years, in terms of how they marketed it in Wellington," he said. "And the truth is the problem they had was the sport on the field did not strong resonate enough with fans."

Snedden also said, once the Wellington Sevens lost its appeal, it was always going to be hard to get it back, with so many other live rugby options across the year in New Zealand.

"Once you've been two or three times, it's no longer special. The Nines went through this event quicker than the Sevens."

"It doesn't matter where you are in the country, but if there isn't a bit of magic in the air then, by and large, the crowds are nowhere near what they used to be years ago, because they have more on offer."