Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hong Kong Sevens turns 40

The highlight of the HK Sevens draw was seeing USA in the top of pool D.  I may have whooped loudly when the standings were announced.

The Hong Kong Sevens turns forty this year. I expect quite the celebration to be put on by sponsors HSBC and Cathay Pacific.

If you couldn't get tickets, you can still watch at the Sevens Village at So Kon Po, across from the stadium. You can bring your own drinks and watch on a big screen instead of paying hundred of dollars for a plastic pitcher of skunky beer. You can also watch the sevens on local television. Last year when I got pelted with a cup of beer colored liquid that wasn't beer, I seriously thought about staying home from the event for 2015. At this point, I only stop by the South Stand to take pictures with the team (we all wear matching costumes) and to drop SB off. I may be part of the minority of attendees that come to watch the competition. 

Frankly, I think that the Tens are even better than the Sevens. Unfortunately the Tens occurs during Wednesday and Thursday so many people are working but it feels like a rugby community event. You can sit in the stands at Football Club within reach of George Smith or Tana Umaga and watch a mixture of up an coming athletes play with famous veterans. This list of past Tens attendees is a who's who of the rugby world. Our own former Causeway Bay player, Uini Atonio, played in the Tens five or so years ago. I should note that he arrived at CWB with enormous talent already but our coach, Semi, did his best to provide a good environment for Uini to mature, and most importantly, he pushed for Uini to play in the Tens. Uini eventually got picked up by La Rochelle and the rest is history. Uini made his debut of France in the November tests. Sadly, many of the current generation of CWB players still don't believe me when I tell them that once upon a time a Causeway Bay Ram became an international superstar. 

Another fantastic rugby event, and free to boot, is the Hong Kong Women's Sevens. This year it will be a two day event, held on Thursday and Friday before the big event. Yours truly has been asked to be an announcer at the event. Yours truly is not comfortable speaking in front of crowds but my ability to speak some Russian, Spanish and Italian means that I would have a better chance of not butchering player names than most. Except for Tunisia and Papua New Guinea. They're screwed. If I can find a cohort who is happy making corny jokes while I stick only to announcing scoring then I'll do it but I shouldn't be anyone's first choice for ad-lib into a microphone.

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