Rugby Union

Sevens brings colour and good vibes to Sydney

Those who attended the Sydney Sevens on Saturday could be forgiven for thinking they had walked straight into the circus of an orientation week at university.

It has been a long time since Sydney has produced such an enjoyable multicultural party atmosphere at a sporting venue.

Jarryd Hayne sings with the Fiji Sevens team

Making a surprise appearance at promotional event in Sydney, Jarryd Hayne sings with the Fiji Sevens team.

Vociferous crowds are nothing new, but the carnival feel of the inaugural World Series event in Sydney will be difficult to replicate for a number of reasons.

More focus is required when spectating at a rugby Test and less so at longer formats of cricket, but the fact fans could pick and choose when they wanted to watch some footy, meant they could fill their other time at bars or line up for the overly popular "Global Combo" of a hot dog, chips and a drink.

Sea of colour: South Africa's Cheslin Kolbe touches down in front of a huge crowd at Allianz Stadium.
Sea of colour: South Africa's Cheslin Kolbe touches down in front of a huge crowd at Allianz Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

To put the flavour of the day in perspective, those who didn't dress up stood out more than those who did.  

A quick walk across to the eastern side of Allianz Stadium corroborated theories about it being a little wilder than where players and officials were seated.

The lines for a beer were long, and most certainly stayed that way throughout the day.

Even at 10am, thousands of pundits waited outside the gates to get in but the most noticeable aspect was the eclectic mix of fans who made their way down to Moore Park to catch a glimpse of history.

The Kenyan contingent – gathered near the north-eastern corner post – sang and danced after their side polished off Russia. Opposite them were the Flying Fijian fans, who also took delight in seeing their boys take down Samoa in the opening fixture of the day.

Funnily enough, there were more Fiji flags on Saturday than Australian ones such was the support for the side tipped to go close to winning gold in Rio. 

All 16 nations were well represented by fans who were not afraid to hide their patriotic fervour.

As for the Australians, while there were more than enough gold jumpers floating about, there was the usual array of classic dress-ups.

The togas, sombreros and nun outfits would not look out of place on a freshers' night out. Fake mullets, a USA lycra strip and dozens of men wearing their best Batman gear were just some of the costumes on show. 

Meanwhile, some of them were not fit for print. 

Failed experiments in Brisbane, Adelaide and the Gold Coast meant Sydney was the only logical place to take Australia's leg of the sevens. 

In doing so, not only was there a crowd big enough to all but fill a stadium, but a warm festival vibe was created that will no doubt have rugby fans coming back in the years to come.  

The ARU will now be hoping a good portion of the avid supporters who turned up on a cracking Sydney afternoon show the same love to the NSW Waratahs when they get their season underway in just under three weeks.

Sevens lends itself for big groups of people to organise a day out at the rugby. An 80-minute stint is best done with a smaller group, hence why more sevens can only be good for the sport.

Outside the main ground there was just as much going on. Club rugby sides battled away in their own sevens tournaments on the fields by Anzac Parade, while kids wandered around in groups, kicking a ball between them while soaking up the atmosphere – in a nostalgically similar way to those at an SCG Test match. 

As the afternoon wore on – especially in between Australia's first two games – the Mexican waves were on low tide and more empty seats could be seen, but everyone seemed happy to be part of something which could become entwined in Sydney's sporting calendar for as long as the crowds continue to roll in. 

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