PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 March, 2006, 12:00am

Saying it with a big screen

At last year's Sevens there were more marriage proposals (three) than tries scored by Hong Kong (two).

Maybe it's the euphoria of the event or, (more likely) the alcohol, but spontaneous and very public proposals of marriage are as much a part of the sevens as topless Taleban and bottomless jugs.

Those intending such a drastic course are usually relying on the crowd's deafening moral support to elicit the right response.

One notable proposal was that of New Zealand player Scott Pierce who popped the question to girlfriend Jane at the tournament in 1992 and then played the following year while on his honeymoon.

'It was the first year they had the big scoreboard and I put up a notice asking her to marry me,' he said. 'I love the Sevens and I thought it was the right way.

'I did not hear anything for hours and then when the announcer was reading the New Zealand team sheet he missed out my name. Right at the end he said: 'Scott Pierce' - did a drum roll with his hands - 'the answer is in the affirmative'.

'I was a happy man. And then the next year I was here on honeymoon and Dallas Seymour pulled out injured. I was called up although I didn't want to play.'

The lucky recipients last year were Garry Owens, Reine and Geoff B, who received proposals of marriage via the big screen from KT, Henrik and, er, Poon Tang, respectively. Unfortunately, we can't confirm whether they went through with their nuptials once they had sobered up.

Of course the big screen message can serve an alternative purpose as demonstrated by this relationship killer of a few years back: 'Darling I've tested positive and didn't know how else to tell you.'