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  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 4:37am

Shop 'til you drop - even if you're a prop

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 March, 2007, 12:00am

Robby Nimmo


We all accept that the main goals during the Sevens weekend are, not necessarily in order, sport and partying.


But coming up a close third is the highly competitive field of shopping. For, truth be told, the visiting players and their contingents are not just worried about pulled muscles and broken bones. Almost as frightening is the threat of 'repetitive strain injury' to their credit cards when they cut loose on the plastic and shop 'til they drop.


We all accept that the main goals during the Sevens weekend are, not necessarily in order, sport and partying.


But coming up a close third is the highly competitive field of shopping. For, truth be told, the visiting players and their contingents are not just worried about pulled muscles and broken bones. Almost as frightening is the threat of 'repetitive strain injury' to their credit cards when they cut loose on the plastic and shop 'til they drop.


Shopping has always been a great sideline activity since the Sevens started 31 years ago. That was before Walkmans, iPods, laptops and digital cameras were on Hong Kong shopping lists.


Not long ago, TV commentator and after-dinner speaker Chris 'Buddha' Handy, a former Wallaby, could get away with this typical sideswipe when he said: 'Gone are the days when Sevens players were reputed to be a bunch of attention-seeking, latte-drinking shopaholics who were the first to leave the field when the going got tough.'


But nowadays, like any visitor to Hong Kong, modern metrosexual rugby players (and comedians) like to hit the malls and boutiques for themselves and their partners. Don't believe us? Let them tell you in their own words.


Robby Nimmo


'When my wife Debbie and I first came to Hong Kong last year we had no idea what to expect. I remember being freaked out by the way the taxi doors open on their own, so it was a while before we finally plucked up the courage to jump in one and head for the much talked about 'Ladies Market'.


As you can imagine, I hadn't been looking forward to it as the title didn't really conjure up images of an 'end-to-end thriller' of an afternoon for a bloke. Like so many men, I have come to hate the eternal prospect of following their lady around countless 'woman-y' shops in the search of that day's Holy Grail (most recently in my case, a pair of beige shoes in a style that evidently hasn't been invented yet).


'However I was pleasantly surprised by the chaotic trading place that is the Ladies Market. I have to say it was a buy-sexual experience with goodies for everyone and proved to be the most enjoyable afternoon's shopping I've ever been dragged on. We were Wales' most popular Christmas gift givers last year.'


Rod Woodward


Welsh comedian, who entertained the throng at last year's HKRFU Long Lunch


'The boys just went a little shopping-mad at a recent tournament in San Diego, so we should pare back the shopping in Hong Kong. And as team captain, I wanted to keep them off their feet early in the week of the Sevens. We've done the Nathan Road thing and may hit Shenzhen. Clothes, shoes and iPods are on our lists, plus gifts for girlfriends.'


Tim Atkinson


2007 Australian team captain


'I've lived here for seven years, but I still get excited about the electronics in the Wan Chai Computer Centre. I'd spend half my salary there if I could. I don't always use all the gadgets I buy there to their full potential, but it's fun buying them. I'm a sucker for cameras, too. I find it hard to walk past a good cha siu fan (Chinese fried rice with pork) with egg on top, or a decent tool shop.'


Kris Marin


Hong Kong prop


'I am never in Hong Kong long enough to shop, but I pick up some perfume at duty free. For my wife, not myself.'


David Fordham


Australian former first-grade cricket and rugby player and after-dinner speaker


'I head to tailor Harry Lee on Nathan Road. He's the same tailor who made the suits for the TV show, The Love Boat.'


Eric Rush


Former All Black and Sevens stalwart


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