Hong Kong Sevens

40,000 ways to meet your lover - at the Rugby Sevens

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am

So what is it that brings people to the Hong Kong Sevens?

'Do you want the truth or do you want something you can print?' asks Sunil Balari, a garment manufacturer who grew up going to the Sevens.

He casts a weather eye around the Hong Kong Stadium and takes in the potpourri of people wandering past.

'I'm not sure how many of us here are actually that interested in the rugby, but you know there's the beer, the crowd ... it's just a great atmosphere,' he says. 'It gets better every year - but the tickets get harder to obtain. I actually know someone who lives here but bought a package from overseas so they could get in.'

Someone who does actually live overseas and bought a similar package was Paul Cardamone, a Melburnian who flew in with a group of about 30 other men for the event.

'It's an excellent excuse to get away with the boys,' he says. Although not actually facing the field, he expresses some marginal interest in the game of rugby. That interest appears transient at best as two beautiful women in rather snug police outfits sashay past and join the queue for the South Stand.

Their names: Kristine Kiplinger and Dawn Dinwiddie, two North American teachers who decided to come to the Sevens because 'we met some Rugby 10s players last night in Stanley and they were really hot'.

'We don't even know the rules, but it's not really what's happening on the field that interests us.'

They were hopeful that the four-hour wait to get into the south stand would magically be compressed to less than one. That optimism, while admirable, had not been enough to help them skirt the security cordon in front of the gates.

'They confiscated our handcuffs,' Ms Dinwiddie said. 'They told us they looked too real, even though they were covered in fuzzy leopard print.'

So furry handcuffs, along with studded collars and other essential items of costumery, have made it to the list of banned offensive weapons. But bagpipes, apparently, have not. Either that, or brothers Aragorn and John Simpson found a novel way to smuggle their instruments in.

'This is our first year here,' says John, obviously somewhat taken aback by the array of exotic creatures populating the concourse.

'It's like a sci-fi convention crossed with a sports event. I have no idea what rugby has to do with men getting about in miniskirts and crop tops, but it seems to work.'

Some 40,000 people, and three none-too-fit streakers who won't be back today, would doubtless agree.