More than just a game

More than just a game

The Sevens brings to Hong Kong not only rugby but also music, tourism, talent and fun


The Sevens encourage a display of Hong Kong pride.
The Sevens encourage a display of Hong Kong pride.
The month of March is famous for many things: crazy hares, St Patrick's Day, the Spring Equinox, Epilepsy Awareness Month, International Women's Day, Earth Hour ... But perhaps the most talked about March event in Hong Kong is the Rugby Sevens, the annual sporting extravaganza.

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We appreciate that not everybody likes (or even understands) the sport. We know that the crowds of tourists who descend on Hong Kong Island for this three-day fest means traffic jams, queues at restaurants, and a whole lot more rubbish around Causeway Bay.

But the Sevens are an event that we, as Hongkongers, can all be proud of. They bring some brilliant athletes to the city, and often these men and women are only too happy to share their experience, and some tips for aspiring players.

This year, for example, the Canadian squad are offering a coaching and training session at the Canadian International School; and for many years, the Scots headed to King George V for a kick-about with students.

The games are also proof of our status as a "world city". Many of the 40,000 spectators come from overseas, and stay for a holiday. The fact that people keep coming back is surely testament to just how cool our hometown is.

Sports for all

The event is also an important reminder of the importance of sport. Sport represents a microcosm of society. There are different groups of people, with different outlooks and approaches to life. Team members have to work together to achieve success; different players have different, equally crucial roles; and like citizens, if players do not abide by the rules, they will be punished.

Watching a sporting event, and supporting a team, creates an air of camaraderie and a feeling of pride, bringing people together.

What's more, rugby sevens is a sport everyone can play and support - while the main competition is for the men's teams, women, teens and children play, too.

Even bigger, even better

This year is the biggest Sevens yet, with 28 teams playing instead of 24, which has been the set-up since the tournament was first held 38 years ago. This means 70 games have to be fitted into the three days instead of the usual 61.

In fact, this year promises to be even more entertaining, with the adverts that usually run between games limited to the half-time break so that the time between games is all about the music.

And for the first time, there will be a rock-band-worthy stage, and a performance by iconic rock 'n' rollers, The Beach Boys.


By the time you're reading this, the Hong Kong squad will have been named, and the guys and gals representing the city will be buckling down to their final four days of training before everything kicks off - literally - on Friday afternoon.

This year, the 28 teams playing will be split into two competitions - 12 teams will play in the pre-qualification tournament, while the remaining 16 are in the HSBC Sevens World series competition. The latter features some of the best teams in the world, like New Zealand and South Africa. And this is where the doubters may be persuaded to pay attention, because, as the Asian Sevens Series 2012 winners, Hong Kong is in that elite group.

Last year, Hong Kong didn't do as well as they hoped. But, with their success in the Asian Sevens Series, there's every reason they could repeat their 2010 success, where they won the Shield, and that will be a victory for everyone. After all, whether or not you care about sport, it's hard for any Hongkonger to deny their love for the 852.



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