Hong Kong Sevens

Sevens fan inspired by local heroes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2012, 12:00am

Calvin Chang first attended the annual Hong Kong Sevens competition five years ago with a wig on his head - and knowing nothing about the game of rugby.


However, today Calvin could not live without the sport. He is now a member of Hong Kong's under-16 rugby union squad.


Last weekend's tournament was the fifth Hong Kong Sevens attended by the 15-year-old student from POH Chan Kai Memorial College in Tai Wai. Years after his first visit to the stadium, he watches the Hong Kong team carefully and learns from his hometown heroes.


Calvin first got involved in the sport by joining Twister Rugby Football Club, in Tin Shui Wai, when he was 11.


'Not long after I joined, they asked me if I was interested in watching the Sevens. I just accompanied them and I didn't quite understand the game,' Calvin says. All he remembers about that year is that someone gave him a wig to wear. From the second year on, he became more aware of the games when watching the Sevens.


'Sevens is always a great rugby lesson for me,' Calvin says. 'Every year I watch the beautiful steps and change of speed by players in the matches and try to copy their moves afterwards.'


He says seeing the skills demonstrated by the top teams has really helped him to improve.


Hong Kong Rugby Football Union offered 5,000 first-day tickets to local schools this year. But Calvin didn't receive one because rugby is not popular at his school and it didn't apply for tickets. 'Few students like rugby at my school; I asked my teachers to organise some rugby activities, but they said no. I guess they think such a contact sport may be dangerous,' he says.


Luckily, he was given tickets by friends for the second and final day of the three-day event. He was impressed by Hong Kong's players, who lost in the quarter-final against Japan - and with it the chance to clinch a core-team berth in the elite Sevens World Series.


'Salom Yiu Kam-shing was on brilliant form this year,' Calvin says. 'But my role model is fly-half Keith Robertson. I am of a similar height and build to him. I once lost confidence in myself as I thought I wasn't strong enough to play, but watching his spectacular play, I got my confidence back.'


Calvin was watching Hong Kong's defeat on television, when Robertson was sent off after only 30seconds. 'I hadn't left home for the stadium as it was still too early. I think the red card was unfair to Hong Kong. But they did well, even though they played the rest of the match with six men. I was screaming at the screen throughout the game.'


He believes hard work will allow him to be as successful as the impressive Robertson one day.


However, first he needs to improve his language skills. 'My English isn't good and this can hinder communication with my teammates,' he says. 'I'm improving on listening to referees' calls, but there's a long way to go'


Fiji beat New Zealand 35-28 in the tournament's cup final. For full details go to www.hksevens.com