know the score

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 March, 2006, 12:00am

With arguably the territory's most fun and sociable sporting event - the Rugby Sevens - almost upon us, Man Management feels it's time to offer some guidance on Sevens attire. Notwithstanding adverse weather, the main issue in deciding what to wear is the consideration of where you will sit. This is not to say there are any bad seats per se, rather that each area of the stadium has its own vibe and character, so wearing clothing suited to the surroundings should be your key objective.

The private/sponsored boxes, populated mostly by bankers, brokers and lawyers, provide a refined way to enjoy the event. The catered buffets at least ensure you don't eat soggy pies and fried chicken all weekend. Home to both serious rugby fanatics and privileged first-timers with little or no knowledge of the game, the boxes house small legions of high-net-worth professionals armed with BlackBerries and sporting the Ivy League uniform of blue Brooks Brothers Oxford shirts, Ralph Lauren blazers, Banana Republic chinos and Kenneth Cole loafers. The less conservative, upmarket labels that add a splash of colour and style include Hackett, Dunhill and Thomas Pink, intermingling with Harlequin rugby shirts and the occasional misguided Bangkok stag-tour shirt, which gathers mould for the rest of the year.

Comfortably nestled in the vertigo-inducing seats of the upper East and West stands reside the battle-weary veterans of many past Sevens. Now more focused on the game than the party, they strategise, patiently explain the intricacies of rulings and keep score. Beneath the North Face fleeces and Barbour coats are cautious demonstrations of team allegiance in the form of official Canterbury merchandise or knock-off rugby jerseys from Stanley Market, and these all blend into a sea of Armani Exchange, Timberland, R.M. Williams and Gap. It is Paco Rabanne and cafe latte land, with substance reigning over style; a sober, affable world in which supporters know where the views are least obscured, food queues are the shortest and toilets are the cleanest.

The South Stand is the scene of the most fun. It is the heart and soul of Sevens rugby and it can get messy. This is where many spectators end up standing most of the weekend, getting increasingly wet and dirty. While it may be most sensible to turn up sporting a black rubbish bag (you'll have to bin most of your clothes after the weekend anyhow), the popular look is relaxed and practical, not unlike that of the Canuck/Aussie backpacker. This comprises Tevas, deck shoes or flip-flops paired with Abercrombie and Fitch cargo shorts or a pair of board shorts that have never sat on a Malibu. These are topped with a tee or rugby shirt that, most importantly, advertises some aspect of your personality: where you're from, where you've been, what you drink, who you support or any provocative statement designed to act as an ice-breaker with the people around you.

Last, and by no means least, is the option of fancy dress. While this can cause embarrassment getting to and from the stadium, it does ensure a warm reception in virtually any section of the ground. Popular outfits include film and television characters, national costumes, cross-dressing and fetish wear. Then there are the obligatory supporters dressed as furry animals and, strangely, fruit.

By Saturday afternoon, regardless of any dress or seating hierarchy, no one will care whether you're a rugby veteran or virgin, broke or a broker, in Zara or a banana; they'll just want to have a great time.