The Wellington sevens are officially in jeopardy.

New Zealand Rugby has acknowledged that the tournament may not survive in the capital, with executive member Nigel Cass saying there were just 20,000 for the latest tournament at Westpac Stadium. A continuation of that would mean the tournament was not viable.

Cass said: "It's not one thing in terms of the sevens and that's the challenge. We don't want to pre-judge.

"We just have to sit down over the next couple of weeks and say 'that number of people at the event is not good enough, what do we need to do? What do we need to change? How do we encourage people who didn't go to go and have a good time like the people who did go?"


Cass will not rule out anything - including shifting the tournament out of New Zealand - when a decision is made in late March. NZR has two years left on the three-year licence. World Rugby gives New Zealand the hosting rights, and NZR recommends which city the tournament should be held in.

The 34,500 capacity stadium was a sellout in the tournament's heyday.

Stand-in national sevens coach Scott Waldrom spoke out during the tournament, telling Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch he couldn't believe how small the event had become.

"It was really disappointing, especially to see the drop of numbers from game two and game three," Waldrom said.

"I guess if we're aiming at a family environment, at 9.30pm kids probably want to start getting home and the parents leave. It just didn't feel the same and that's a real disappointment because I grew up loving the Wellington Sevens and it was the highlight of the year being a Wellington boy."

"To see it now is understand how it's declined so rapidly. There's certainly going to be a lot of hard questions after this and I'm sure World Rugby will be asking 'what's the plan going forward'.

"It's really sad. A lot of people are complaining about it and saying it used to be fun but I just don't understand what's really happening."

Tournament organiser Steve Dunbar remains positive, as he had been before the tournament when low ticket sales were already being reported.

"We had to make a decision after the 2014 tournament, going back in time is not an option for us," Dunbar said.

"For the tournament to move forward, it needs to change. We know the 20,000 people over the two days had a really good time, and that's a good thing.

"The atmosphere was not at the height of five or ten years ago but it was still good all the same."