Hong Kong Sevens

Missing: teeth, dignity, cow...

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am

'I've lost my voice plenty of times and had several cases of 'Wan Chai throat', the affliction you get from too many late nights in the bars after the stadium. In my worst case all I could manage were croaking sounds in a Monday morning business negotiation.'

Chris Helm,
Managing director, Advanced African Solutions (southern Africa and northern Virginia)

'I lost a Friesian cow. This wasn't the usual Sevens mascot, this cow was alive and consisted of two Brits and one Aussie from the Bedok Kings Rugby Club in Singapore. Getting the cow to the stadium was not easy. His head went in the back of the cab from Wan Chai to the stadium and its legs weren't even in yet. Wherever part of the cow went, the whole cow had to follow, and toilet stops were no cakewalk. It was like bovine Siamese triplets. I later found Moo sitting in Wan Chai, waiting for a taxi. As I was busy doing my TV commentary all weekend I clearly didn't make a very good cattle dog.'

Justin Sampson,
TV sports commentator, Melbourne

'I've been witness to many lost nights, lost games, and lost brain cells, but I've found so many happy people, so many friends from around the world. I've found I love the Sevens, and I can't get enough of it.'

Glenn Ennis,
Stunt double for Steven Seagal and captain of Canada's team at the 1992 Sevens

'In the 1980s, I lost one of my teeth somewhere around the try line at the South Stand end. At the same time I found something - Fijian forward Sakeasi Vonolagi has a very hard head.'

Eric Rush

'There was a huge thunderstorm on Sevens Sunday in 1992. The heavens opened and it was pitch black at 4pm. For once I made the right wardrobe choice - a wetsuit and snorkel. The TV cameras followed me around as I aquaplaned on the grass just off the pitch. In fact, it was Sevens promotional footage for a couple of years. Despite the weather, we went to Wan Chai afterwards. When I woke up in the morning, I'd lost that wetsuit.'

Chris Ward,
IT Consultant, Boston
Former New Zealand captain, played in 16 Hong Kong Sevens

'I have lost hours and hours of sleep, because my new-found Hong Kong friends would not go home. I found I had more friends in the city than I ever realised.'

Hugh Bladen,
South African rugby commentator

'Do dignity, self-respect, self-control, sense of time or place, many beers, lots of money or a girlfriend or two count? If I lost brain cells, I always seemed to find them the next day, miraculously.'

Rob Dewers (name changed to protect the guilty),
Renewable energy finance consultant, Washington

'What have I lost? I guess that would be the hours that flew by when Austin Powers spent time in that crazy South Stand. All the party people and the groovy time that Austin had singing and dancing with everyone, which evaporated minutes, hours, days ... And what I found was my mojo, as I worked overtime to keep the party going. I also found out that the shagadelic Austin still rocks and can party and dance hard with the rest of the Hong Kong Sevens crowd.'

Gary Brown,
Professional Austin Powers impersonator, Wellington

'I lost my footing once. Had some beer inside me, and plenty covering me courtesy of those behind me in the South Stand. After a visit to the loo, I was negotiating my way down the stairs when I slipped and fell on my most prominent feature. Two security guards came rushing over. I thought, 'Oh no, they're going to turf me out'. Instead, they both gently helped me to my feet, half carried me back to my seat, smiled, told me to take care, and went on their way.'

Andy Chworowsky,
Managing director, Fat Angelo's restaurants

'I lost my memory once. One minute I was in the South Stand about to kiss a handsome young rugby player with dyed green hair (he was from South Africa) and the next thing I remember was waking up the next morning at home alone, still fully dressed as Catwoman! I must point out that this was about 15 years ago, so I was young then, too!'

Hazel Black,
Early dress-up queen, AKA Catwoman, and real estate agent

'A friend of mine lost his wallet in the melee of the South Stand. He immediately cancelled all of his credit cards and wrote off the HK$5,000 spending money contained in the wallet. Dejected, he quietly left the stadium, by chance stopping to report the lost wallet. One minute later he found his wallet had been handed in so he also found a new faith in Sevens supporters. No cards or cash were missing. He then returned directly to the South Stand without buying a round.'

Anonymous banker

'I almost lost my rag when I was on duty when a git from Glasgow yelled 'Hey copper' and threw a jug at me. I threw him out and made him come back and apologise the next day, which he did. That was a few years ago, and thankfully jugs are now banned in the South Stand. I don't work the Sevens anymore, but a large number of volunteer police work the South Stand in plainclothes, so watch out!'

Anonymous chief inspector,
Hong Kong Police

'On a Monday morning after the Sevens my mate handed over his passport at the airport to check in to fly back to New Zealand. He had lost a shoe, a sleeve of a Sevens shirt, and was struggling to find his boarding pass. The ever gracious and patient woman behind the counter handed him a note and smiled and said, 'Sir, I believe this is yours?' The note said 'your dignity'. He said, 'Thanks for returning it' then smiled as he boarded the plane. He had nothing else to lose.'

Erin Emrick
Owner, Busy Bees Pre-School,
Valley player and mini-rugby coach

'I lost a Kiwi friend and found him 10 years later. Through the 90s we shared the Sevens whirl, watching the rugby and extracting each other from ever worsening social interactions. With my return to Oz our paths parted. I finally made it back to the Sevens in 2011 with a good friend from Guangzhou. He invited me to sit with his 'old mates' in the South Stand. And one of his old mates was the Kiwi. Gives credence to that old adage 'birds of a feather flock together'. They're still flying to the Hong Kong Sevens, apparently.'

Grant Dooley
Australian Consul-General, Guangzhou