Wellington Sevens 'probably run its course' - RWC organiser

It was once the highlight of the Wellington sport and social calendar, but the Wellington Sevens tournament is struggling in its 18th year to fill the stands of the Cake Tin.

Organisers are urging fans to buy tickets to the event despite saying they are happy with current sales.

But some critics, such as sport administrator Martin Sneddon, says the event has run its course.

"History will judge the Wellington Sevens as being an amazing success story," the Rugby World Cup 2011 organiser said.

"But what's really apparent now is that it's probably run its course."

Organisers wouldn't reveal to 1 NEWS exactly how many tickets had been sold this year, but said they are tracking the same numbers as last year – approximately 15,000 fans which is less than half of Westpac Stadium.

Sevens general manager Steve Dunbar says organisers are working hard to bring the tournament back to its former glory.

"We've never shied away from the fact it's difficult to sell tickets in today's environment," he said.

"It's not uncommon for international sporting events like this to have peaks and troughs like this in its life cycle."

The tournament also faces competition from the NRL Auckland Nines which has seen it attempt to revitalise the tournament with new food and beverage options to bring fans back.

Wellington has an agreement with World Rugby to keep the tournament in the city for the next two years.

Now in its 18th year, some are questioning whether the tournament is coming to the end of its life. Source: 1 NEWS



'It's a great opportunity' - Canterbury law student dabbles in new NZ Rugby initiative, Ignite Sevens

Canterbury sevens player Grace Steinmetz only played the game last year in December and is now having a crack at making the national women’s team.

New Zealand Rugby has started a new initiative Ignite 7 which sees 48 female and 48 male athletes take part in a four day event on November 21.

Players will go through a field of testing before playing in a televised one day tournament to earmark new talent.

"Hadn't played rugby or sevens before, so come from a touch and hockey background," said Steinmetz.

The 20-year-old law student hopes to one day wear the Black Ferns women jumper as she tries out her hand in the Ignite 7 tournament.

"It is something I would love to do one day, I think it's a great opportunity for sevens now girls, it's professional and it can be your job now," she said.

"I don't have to worry about my law degree, like I can just go and train and be a professional athlete which is definitely a goal of mine."

Coming from a touch and hockey background Grace Steinmetz admits she is still getting used to contact. Source: 1 NEWS


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'It's a pretty normal thing' - humble Kiwi cyclist George Bennett on viral water bottle gift moment

Kiwi cyclist George Bennett says his kind gesture for a young adoring fan, where he handed the cheering supporter his water bottle, is nothing new.

Bennett became a viral sensation despite finishing outside the top 10 at the Vuelta a Espana, when he took the time on the final stage to make one young fan's day.

After receiving applause from a young supporter, Bennett decided to give him an unexpected reward for his enthusiastic cheers during one of the event's climbs – his water bottle.

"This kid was still screaming full gas like I could win the race but I was 15 minutes behind at that stage," Bennett told Stuff.

"I've thrown a thousand bottles to kids in my career and I'll probably throw a thousand more."

The moment was caught on video and shared by the boy's family online.

The gesture has now been viewed hundreds of thousands of times with many heaping praise on Bennett for the gesture.

"This one just got caught on video and there's just something about how enthusiastic the kid was," he said.

"But it's a pretty normal thing at the end of a bike race; there's thousands of kids screaming for your bottle when you're riding to the finish.

"It's quite a cool thing because the fans are so connected to the riders, they're so close and for us it's a bottle, we go through 15-20 a day, but for them it's something pretty cool and hopefully it gets them into cycling."

Bennett may have had a disappointing finish in the Tour of Spain but he made sure he made someone else’s day. Source: 1 NEWS


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Meet the transgender Wellington school caretaker brightening up kids' days

A transgender caretaker at a Wellington school has been using her musical talents to brighten up the kids' days.

Molly Mason was born as Michael, but soon discovered she was a female born in a man's body.

"I believe I'm a woman, and I associate as a woman, so I live my life as a woman," Molly told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

Molly has a love of music that began when she was just six.

Now, in her role as caretaker at a Wellington school, she uses her talent to good effect by beat boxing with the kids at lunchtime.

"When I realised that beat boxing and making sounds was something I couldn't live without, that was it, nothing else mattered."

However, to be this woman - that little boy Michael, had a fight on his hands.

"I got bullied from primary school right through until the day I left college and left Blenheim."

Molly is now proud to be transgender and says the stage is her safe place. She performs as her drag alter ego called Bette Noir.

"Anything that makes me sad, makes me worried, makes me scared, anything that I find stressful, it's not there, it's gone." 

Seven Sharp’s Arrun Soma spoke with Molly Mason. Source: Seven Sharp


Watch: The adorable moment Kiwi cyclist George Bennett gained a young fan for life

Kiwi cyclist George Bennett may have had a disappointing finish on the Tour of Spain but a video has emerged that is sure to win him plenty of fans despite the result.

Bennett finished outside the top 10 at the Vuelta a Espana but took time on the final stage to make one young fan's day.

After receiving applause from the young supporter, Bennett decided to give him an unexpected reward for his enthusiastic cheers during one of the event's climbs – his water bottle.

The moment was caught on video and shared by the boy's family on social media.

The gesture has now been viewed hundreds of thousands of times with many heaping praise on Bennett for the gesture.

Bennett may have had a disappointing finish in the Tour of Spain but he made sure he made someone else’s day. Source: 1 NEWS


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