Sevens Heaven

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So you thought the footy season was over? Wallabies languishing in bronze position in the World Cup last month? Well the “Game They Play in Heaven” never says die so if you missed the action across The Ditch, have your appetite whetted for more, or you’re even a Bleus fan seeking a rematch of sorts …

It’s worth remembering Queensland is beckoning Rugby supporters for its inaugural Gold Coast Sevens “Fever Pitch” tournament later this month.
The two-day event at Skilled Park, Robina, kicking off the HSBC Sevens World Series 2011-2012, will feature seven sides from the Pacific region, four from Europe, two from the Americas, two from Africa and one from Asia. Along with golf, Rugby 7s – for men and women – will be included in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games (15-man teams competed in the Olympics until 1924).
This year’s 7s is the event, on home soil, that travellers have traditionally rushed to see at, notably, Hong Kong, and also in Dubai. Sixteen teams – from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Scotland, Wales, France and South Africa as well as the US, Argentina, Kenya, Samoa, Japan, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Niue – will make the trip to Queensland, on the Gold Coast on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 November, with the aim of claiming the inaugural Fever Pitch title.
The event is the first round of the nine legs of the worldwide HSBC 7s series that moves on to Dubai on December 2 and 3, Nelson Mandela Stadium in South Africa’s Port Elizabeth on December 9 and 10, New Zealand (Wellington) on February 3 and 4, the US in Las Vegas from February 10 to 12, the celebrated Hong Kong event from March 23 to 25, Tokyo on March 31 and April 1, at Edinburgh in Scotland on May 5 and 6, and culminates on the hallowed ground of Twickenham on May 12 and 13, 2012.
In fact, Fever Pitch – supported by the IRB, Tourism Queensland and Gold Coast Tourism – is the second of two Rugby events being held over eight days on the Gold Coast. The action opens on the first weekend with the Hyperion Paradise 7s 2011 on Saturday November 19 and Sunday November 20. First staged in 2009 at Albert Park, Surfers Paradise, the Paradise 7s have been invited this year to run the competition from the state of the art Carrara Sports Complex. As well as international teams competing, Australian teams from WA, NSW and Queensland will take part. The Hyperion 7s event will also host a women’s tournament and a newly created local Gold Coast club competition.
Accommodation is affordable. Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree are the festival’s official accommodation partners, with the chain’s Broadbeach hotels located just 10 minutes from Carrara and 15 minutes from Skilled Park. Peppers Broadbeach is the pick, a great base for the events from $265 a night in a one bedroom suite with complimentary in-room parking, movies and internet. Peppers offers one, two and three bedroom suites and three bedroom “sky homes” with first-class facilities such as private cinemas and lap, plunge and resort pools. Call 07 5635 1000 or visit peppers.com.au.
Mantra Phoenician special rates are from $137 a night in a one bedroom suite (minimum three-night stay). Call 07 5585 8888 or visit mantra.com.au. At BreakFree Diamond Beach, Broadbeach, rates are from $150 a night in a one bedroom suite with four nights’ accommodation for the price of three. Call 07 5570 0000 or visit breakfree.com.au. Broadbeach has excellent pavement cafes, a great beach and is home to Jupiters Casino, open 24/7.
If you’re quick you can still enter Tourism Queensland’s Rugby 7s promotional competition to win seven nights’ accommodation, for seven friends, tickets to the 7s Festival and visits to seven Gold Coast attractions at www.queenslandholidays.com.au (closes Friday November 4). Otherwise, why not take advantage of Virgin Australia’s new schedules from Port Macquarie direct to Brisbane? Fares are around $99 one way at www.virginaustralia.com – or see a local travel agent to book and for links via hire car or rail to the Gold Coast.
traveleditor@live.com.au

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