Family ties put this newcomer in the spirit

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 March, 2011, 12:00am

Caroline Espey is new in Hong Kong but a cosmopolitan family background and her connections to a rugby great make her a perfect fit for the Sevens.

Londoner Espey only arrived here in February, but the YSL Beauty marketing manager wasted no time in getting a ticket to the weekend's festivities. Espey explained how she came to love rugby, through her South Africa connection. 'My father was born in Northern Rhodesia but raised in South Africa, and mum was born in Costa Rica. Both went to live in London some 40 years ago. Dad has been in the liquor industry for over 40 years. (He is credited with inventing Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Malibu and Chivas Regal 18.) These days he runs a boutique liquor brand called The Last Drop with his partner - my godfather - Peter Fleck. Peter's son, Robbie Fleck - dad's godson - played for South Africa, so there is always lots of lively discussion about rugby when we're together. In fact, through that rugby grapevine, I've had lots of other people to get in touch with here.

'I'm barracking for South Africa and England, as is our family tradition at rugby matches. Now, for the first time, I am adding Hong Kong into the mix.

'The carnival atmosphere is infectious - it's pretty rare to be at a sporting event where the 'odd ones out' are the ones not in fancy dress!'