The Hong Kong Sevens kicked off in 1976 as a sporting event to bring Asian countries together (but also as a promotional tool for Rothmans cigarettes).
Back then, the competition ran for three days, 12 teams took part and there were about 3000 spectators in total. 40 years on and the competition still runs for three days, but there are now 28 teams and roughly 120 000 spectators. To say the event has gained momentum would be an understatement.
Now in its 41st year, the Hong Kong Sevens is going strong with teams not only from Asia, but all over the world, which has given rise to its reputation of being ‘where the world comes to play’. Many consider it to be the best rugby tournament in the world for a number of reasons. The atmosphere of this tournament is different to others. Initially players were sent as a reward for their hard work and it was a fun time to hang out with other teams. Now it’s a lot more intense, but the fun spirit has remained. The energy could also be due to the fast-paced games, which only last for fifteen minutes. The general high-spiritedness of the supporters (with 1L buckets of vodka mix on sale from the get go) also adds to the energy.
As the years have gone by, traditions have developed. The most notable one is that everyone boos the Australian players when they come onto the field. This is done in a light-hearted manner and the Aussies have come to expect it and take it on the chin. There is a Parade of Nations on day two, much like in the Olympics, which is led by a Chinese bagpipe band. The crowd is encouraged to dress up and of course, alcohol consumption is high (please drink responsibly), with 25000 pints of beer being consumed over the 3 day period. Unlike other tournaments, this has very rarely resulted in fights or violence due to the prevailing cheer in the stadium.
If you’re wanting to get right into the mix of the raucous celebrations, head to the South Stand where the die-hard partiers go. The best part is that you don’t even have to head to the bar to get your drinks – there are bar staff on hand to pass you your next 1L jug of beer or vodka mix or your poison of choice. This is also the place to go to see the best dress-ups and craziest costumes. You have to be over 18 though, so if you are with family or wanting something less hectic, head to one of the other areas. If you want to spend Sevens consistently tipsy and cheer until your voice is hoarse, South Stand is your heaven.
There are quite a few events that go on during the Sevens. There is a Sevens Carnival and a kick-concert on the days leading up to the event. If you can’t get tickets to the actual games on some days (of course see Keith Prowse Travel for insider and official ticketing packages), you can head to the Chater Garden near Admiralty Metro Station where there is a big screen and daily celebrations. Here you’ll find entertainment, loads of food and drinks, daily events and a chance to get your favourite player’s autograph. The best part is that entrance is free. You can also head to the Sevens Village sponsored by HSBC where you can try grab a free beanbag and watch the action on a giant screen, while still hearing the crowds roar in the nearby stadium.
You don’t need to be an avid rugby fan to enjoy the tournament. The rugby itself is exciting, but the atmosphere, carnival, parties, entertainment, frivolity, dress-ups and energy of the event makes it enjoyable for all and we have Hong Kong Rugby 7s 2018 packages to suit all budgets and interests.
Rugby Sevens Rules:
If you’re not familiar with the rules, here they are:
There are 7 players a side and the game goes for 7 minutes each way with a 1 minute half-time.
A try is worth 5 points; a conversion is worth 2 points.
Conversions must be scored within 40 seconds of the try and as a drop goal.
A yellow card means two minutes in the sin bin.
If the ball goes out of bounds, there is a lineout.
The teams are allowed 5 reserves per game and 5 changes during the game.
The aim of the game is to be fast moving and free flowing. A total of fifteen minutes is all the teams get to win or lose, so the tension and energy are intense.
If you have the time and can spend a few extra days in Hong Kong, check out our Hong Kong Basics guide here http://www.discoverhongkong.com/au/index.jsp to get an idea of what to see and do in the ‘Pearl of the east’.
For Rugby tickets and tailored packages to meet all your needs, contact Keith Prowse Travel, Official Travel Agent for Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU).