Officials are keeping an open mind in regards to the location of next year’s Sydney 7s, given Allianz Stadium’s impending rebuild.
The World Rugby Sevens Series venue as well as the Olympic stadium at Homebush are due to be torn down later this year as part of a $2 billion NSW government overhaul.
There is one year to run on the current four-year Sydney 7s contract, but World Rugby boss Brett Gosper says there is a chance next year’s event could be moved from the NSW capital.
Newcastle has been mooted as a possible destination for the three-day event, with stakeholders mindful of shifting the tournament to a suitably-sized arena that will best capture the famous party atmosphere.
Gosper will discuss the options with new Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle on Monday and said he’d be open to any ideas.
“It seems likely that it’s (Allianz Stadium) not going to be here next year,” he said.
“We’ll take into consideration that they’ll have to move elsewhere and they won’t be penalised in this current tender contract unless they move it somewhere really strange.
“Whether they move it around NSW, or Australia, we’ll be open-minded to those propositions.”
The men’s tournament heads to Hamilton next weekend, in a change of venue from Wellington.
Gosper said a similar change in Australia could breathe new life into the event, which was previously held on the Gold Coast.
“We’ve seen a rebirth in New Zealand with the Hamilton event sold out and certainly Wellington seemed to do it’s time but was incredibly successful,” he said.
“It’s good to see you can reboot that in another part of the country, so it’s up to the host to decide whether moving it around is a good thing or it’s worth sustaining.”
Gosper also said future venues would be financially rewarded for combining the men’s and women’s event, like the Sydney leg has done successfully for the first time this weekend.
New Zealand’s world player of the year Portia Woodman is pushing for a leg in her home country and the CEO said they were on the same page.
“I think the fans want to see the women play, certainly the sponsors are very keen,” Gosper said.
“There’s a commercial push, not just a moral desire to get the women out there, a commercial belief that it’s good for business.”
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