So a lot of people will be walking the streets of Hong Kong this weekend and wonder why there are flocks of dominoes, scrabble tiles, a Tour de France Peloton, Superhero’s, Convicts, Pokémon, etc. are walking the streets. To the untrained eye it would seem that Halloween came early. However, I can be fairly certain that if you live in Hong Kong, you are well aware of what “The Sevens” brings to town.
Often considered to be the biggest party on the Hong Kong calendar, the Rugby Sevens has the excitement of one of the newest Olympic sports with three days of 40,000 screaming (and often singing) fans, partially showing patriotism and vaguely interested in the sport below completes this magical weekend.
So let’s begin with the sport. Sevens is a seven-a-side version of Rugby Union that is grueling and takes a special individual to play. The combination of speed, size and fitness make these athletes unique, and they always rise to the occasion of the biggest Sevens competition in the world. The rules are similar to Rugby Union, with the main difference being the fewer players and seven-minute halves. Sevens has been around since the late 19th Century being conceived by Butchers from Melrose in Scotland. The Hong Kong Sevens have been around since 1976 and quickly became the biggest and most celebrated tournament when it was included in the nine-stop IRB Sevens World Series. It is also the biggest and most diverse with 28 countries competing, expanding the boarders of rugby. As was previously mentioned, the inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games brings more attention to the sport, the likes of Jamaica, Brazil, Mexico, Kenya and Portugal (not being well renowned for rugby) are represented, as well as many more.
Why is this particular leg a favorite? It is the atmosphere. The horde of people that descend on Hong Kong Stadium (in particular the South Stand) are there to enjoy themselves, which is unfortunately open to their own interpretation. Costumes, dancing, singing; all very common aspects that makes up the weekend that is Sevens. Three days of this creates some very tired and broken bodies that deal with the aftermath on Monday morning. Tickets can be hard to come-by now, but it is possible to get them at the ground. The people exiting can be very generous if they are not coming back which will get you into the public area. However, you have to be quite lucky.
If you have a ticket though, will see you in the South Stand!