It's not so grim up North as canny revellers desert madhouse of South

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am

It took two streakers, a collective of Where's Wallys and the under-18s now banned from the South Stand to swing the compass to the North at Hong Kong Stadium over the weekend.

The usually quiet and reserved North Stand partied all weekend - hard - helped by tougher restrictions on numbers in the South and plenty of Hong Kongers in the know who relished a later wake up from the previous night's excesses.

There wasn't a spare seat in the area yet the queues were shorter, the beer girls more abundant, with more culinary options to be sampled without being forced to wait for another four hours for re-entry.

It was also the best way to avoid the Sunday tradition of the plastic beer jug war, which typically begins in the late afternoon. The South Stand was bulging late Saturday morning; straining at overcapacity mid afternoon but by the finish of play there were even large chunks of vacant seats - something no one could ever remember having happened.

One security officer admitted there was a policy of trying to keep some semblance of a lid on the anarchy inside.

Tiffany Pinkstone, who has been to 20-odd Sevens, was at the ground from 9am yesterday to reserve a swath of seats for her group of Sevens veterans in the North Stand after digging the happening atmosphere on Saturday.

'It's just a lot easier,' she said. 'It's happening here with no ma fan with queues and having jugs thrown at your head.'

The first two streakers of the year - after not a single nudist run in 2007 - also emerged for their maiden dash across the turf from the North.

A colourful crew of 22 Fijians, who have been coming to Hong Kong for the tournament for 11 years, claimed credit for making the North the place to be.

'We came here yesterday and were converted,' said Selila Koroi. 'And now we've demagnetised the compass from South to North.'

Naomi Roberts, also with the proud-in-blue Fijians, said there was another big, big bonus. The bulging biceps and Lycra body suits of the players as they warmed up for their games. 'It's a great show in front from the players - and I'm not talking about the ones playing.'

The 20-odd girls with the hard hats and shirts saying 'Speed limit 69' and 'Enter at your own risk' and 'I like you' could not agree more.

'They are so hot, so hot,' Amy Vickers said, while her friends joined the approving chorus about how sexy the players were as they did sit ups and stretches.

Most of the group admitted they were a touch too young to get inside the South Stand but said there was enough going on to compensate. 'We'll be back for sure,' said one.

The mini-rugby kids, relishing their access passes which got them close to the players, also loved the North Stand and its proximity to the players.

'We can get all their autographs really easily. We got Ben Gollings here before! He's really cool,' said Adam Redman and Jordan Cooper from Valley under-12s.

'The Sevens is cool because everyone does what they want. The streakers at the end are also funny,' according to Josh Edwards, from the DeA Tigers under-11s.