Past greats scrum down over lunch
New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens said at the Hong Kong Sevens a couple of years back: 'Sevens is all about expressing yourself on the pitch.'
Yesterday, a posse of popular past players expressed themselves off the pitch and on the stage at the Deutsche Bank Sevens Long Lunch. The lunch has become a pre-Sevens tradition in a marquee of the Indian Recreation Club across the road from Hong Kong Stadium.
Taking the mantle on the mike as MC for the 'Express Yourself' theme was 1973-76 Wallaby Stuart 'Macca' MacDougall, dressed as a French artist. 'Most people usually just think I'm a bull artist,' said Macca, who was clearly 'Man of the Match' in the jokes stakes.
Partners in crime included talismanic Irish captain Keith Wood, Lions legend Ian McGeechan and English fullback Dusty Hare, who holds a world record for points scored with 7,337 points.
The former greats painted a colourful picture of the game and their travels. 'Rugby's changed since we played. Today's players negotiate contracts and get paid huge money. We were lucky if we got a quarter of an orange and jug of water,' MacDougall said. McGeechan added: 'This is the fourth time I've been to the Sevens. I haven't been here since 1993. The skyline's got higher, the harbour's got smaller.'