Fan No 1 returns with the boys in tow
This time the boys are in towMICHAEL FORBES
Fourteen years of dedication to the Wellington Sevens has seen Waitangi Mika crowned its ultimate fan for 2014.
The Aucklander, who originally hails from Lower Hutt, did not believe it when first told.
"It's my 40th birthday and I thought it was a stitch-up. I thought the boys were trying to get back at me for something," he said yesterday.
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Mr Mika has donned his surgeon scrubs and travelled to Wellington for every sevens tournament except the first one in 2000.
He was a founding member of a group of mates who called themselves "ER" (The Eric Rush Supporters Unit), before adopting the name "Doctours".
"It's a nod to the fact we're a bunch of boys on tour. The last 10 years we've road-tripped down," he said.
Members have come and gone. This year, there will be 16 Doctours in the stands at Westpac Stadium, although there have been as many as 29 in previous years. "It's always just the boys so it's easy to arrange. We don't take forever to get our hair done or anything like that."
Mr Mika said he and his mates kept coming back to the sevens because nothing compared to its atmosphere.
Although the group was big on respecting the rules, one of his most memorable moments at the tournament was in 2005 when one of the Doctours ran out on to the field to help an injured Tongan player.
"He had a kitbag so he looked the part. He made it all the way to the 22 [line] and helped the player up, then ran back into the crowd . . . it was unbelievable that he made it that far."
Tim Leaupepe said he nominated his mate because he was one of the "godfathers" of the Doctours, along with fellow founding member Bryan Marsh.
"They organise everything, from where we're going to stay right down to our lunches," he said.
"There's been about 80 Doctours over the years and I don't think there would have even been a group to begin with if it wasn't for them."
Mr Mika wins a signed New Zealand sevens jersey, the chance to watch a sevens match from the sideline with a friend, and accommodation at the James Cook Hotel.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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