Friday is no longer the low-key Sevens night
In the beginning was the word, and the word was Friday, or was it Sevens?
Friday at the Sevens used to be a low-key affair, many of us preferring to keep our powder dry for the main events, Saturday and Sunday.
Now with the new dual event format, Friday guarantees competitive rugby with every match, no more Friday massacres when the little ‘uns were regularly led to the slaughter like pigs in a Shanghai River.
This year there are 16 teams in the Sevens World Series proper, and 12 in the Sevens World Series qualifiers. In the qualifiers, Tonga would seem to be the favourite, but then it depends which Tonga turns up as they have a habit of going AWOL.
This year’s event was preceded by a rousing couple of pieces by the Welsh Male voice Choir from Hong Kong ably assisted by the Welsh Rugby Choir from the UK, these lads were followed by the Eye dotting and the official opening Lion Dance.
And then the rugby started and first up was Russia Vs Mexico.
Meanwhile in the South Stand, first to appear were The Angry Birds. No, not irate women, but their fluffy counterparts from Rovio. Next, arriving en masse were a bunch of Pharaohs, Pharaohs I said. Not little people from the bottom of the garden.
Of nurses, there were none, but there were Nuns and Popes, buns and hopes.
The Jamaican Bobsleigh team from the film Cool Running turned up, if you haven’t seen it, do, its fantastic. Unfortunately, their team didn’t, not really, at one point they had only five men on the paddock.
From the animal kingdom there’s a fox and a panda, a couple of alligators and some indeterminate yellow-coloured animal. Superheros were well represented, Flash, Iron Man and the ubiquitous Shrek… is Shrek a superhero?
Hong Kong’s very own Superhero was present in the guise of Hanna Barbara’s iconic Hong Kong Phooey.
Meanwhile on the pitch, Hong Kong went down to Fiji. Not a big surprise given their relative IRB rankings, or their relative sizes. Scotland went down to Portugal after the hooter, maybe a surprise to some, but not to this Scotsman, I’m immune to that fine Scottish trait, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
There was reported sighting of a Jimmy Saville in the South Stand, but after he found out the age limit he decamped to the North Stand with his mate Darth Vader.
The Kenyans got a big cheer, the French didn’t, the Welsh were warmly received, the Aussies weren’t, it’s hard to get behind your team when they are dressed like bananas.
Over in the North Stand, the Samoans were back with their blue wigs; don’t ask me why they chose blue. The Fijians were close by, but far enough away to avoid any inter island international incidents, a wise precaution no doubt.
At 6pm, the South Stand was proclaimed full, by 6:20 East and West were not far behind and the beer was flowing freely. No doubt in the executive boxes champagne was being uncorked.
Already there are a few Wanchai Warriors, who have the Sunday look about them and it’s only Friday. Pace is everything, fellas. You’re in trouble already, and Red Bull can only take you so far.
“Hey Baby Ooh AH” got the crowd in fine voice. Already this year there seems to be more music played, which augurs well for the weekend, and with luck will minimise the texts I get complaining that “we want more music.”
The most popular song requested on the HKRFU’s new offical Facebook page was Escape, the Pina Colada song, and it got the rafters shaking. I was so glad it wasn’t Gangnam Style and that stupid idiotic dance, which I hope to never see again. A vain hope no doubt until this weekend is over. We’ve not seen it yet, but am sure the Harlem Shake will have a Hong Kong Sevens outing too.
The temperature’s been good, the humidity disappeared and its looking like we’ll get some fine weather for the weekend. We don’t have to worry about the rugby as we know that will be top class. So all that remains is to sit back and enjoy the ride and the revelry, the beer and the babes – or the boys!
I’ve handed over the mike, and it’s beer o’clock for me now, see you later, alligator, and panda, and…