Extra police and ambulance officers will be on duty this
weekend as tens of thousands of revellers converge on the
capital for the annual international sevens tournament.
About 70,000 fans are expected in Wellington for the event
which starts this afternoon and ends tomorrow evening at
The tournament has become as known for the off-field antics
and the action on it, with criticism from some quarters that
drunken spectators - in and outside the stadium - could
threaten to undermine the event.
Almost 100 people were arrested over the weekend last year,
although only 14 were at the stadium.
As well as extra emergency services staff, Wellington City
Council volunteers will be handing out water to fans walking
to the venue this year.
The council will also trial having food stalls set up in
Courtenay Place, which will be closed to traffic from 5pm
tomorow to 6am Sunday.
The tournament gets underway at 1pm when France take on
Kenya. The hosts play for the first time at 3.12pm, against
The final is at 9.30pm tomorrow and New Zealand will be
hoping to make it three successive Wellington wins.
The teams were formally welcomed to the capital when they
paraded through the CBD yesterday.
Thousands of fans lined Lambton Quay in the hot afternoon sun
for the annual Sevens Parade.
Each of the 17 teams was greeted by loud cheers, with the
biggest commotion saved for the New Zealand team, who rolled
by on the last float.