Hong Kong Sevens

Loving the lull before the storm

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 March, 2013, 10:56am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 March, 2013, 11:13am

Now that was a bit of fun.

Up until now I’d never been within a bull’s roar of the stadium on Friday night

That was a mistake

The scene was electric

Swarms of people, programme sellers, beer sellers, a couple pushing a trolley selling pizza

I literally had no idea

Although I knew the tournament started on the Friday, the biggest realisation was that it started on Friday

Hong Kong hit pace straight out of the blocks

"The South Stand in near capacity"

One simple statement

One massive roar from the crowd

It’s on in Hong Kong

Still there’s always time to sit back in the freshly constructed comfort of the new North Stand executive suites

"Canopies, sir?"

"Don’t mind of if I do"

"Beer, sir?"

"Ummmm … no, Vodka please"

Yes, I feel quite civilised, for now.


What a week it’s been

I took in some of the New Territories this time, even got to Sai Kung

Ate some form of crustacean

Along with a few thousand other people

Wandered along the waterfront, trying not to be so amazed at exactly how many boats were parked up

It’s hard to fathom

You literally can’t see the water for the boats

Maintaining the seaside theme, it was onto Repulse Bay Beach for the 5s

I resisted the urge to slip on the budgie smugglers

I mean there’s no sense in showing off

As a former rugby coach it was impressive to the amount of passes and offloads made

I must remember the next team I coach will need a group of bikini-clad girls at every training

As it seems the lads don’t drop the ball as much when they’re around

That’s the secret to keeping the passes up

The dust was annoying though, got every where, like sand gets every where

But sand is not fine enough to drift through the air and settle on your beer

You need to keep things covered in those kinds of conditions.


The cocktail reception is where I do some of my best work

There’s a lot of cocktail receptions during Sevens week

Possibly more than usual

Monday evening was the first one

Situated behind but above the Convention Centre, a little gloomy outdoors

Dazzling brilliance indoors

Tana Umaga spoke for a minute

Then announced a Tens team that made my head dizzy

Rico Gear, Marty Holah, Anthony Tuitavake, Todd Clever – captain, Orene Ai’i, Seilala Mapusua, Elvis Saveali’I, Hale T-Pole, Tone Kopelani, Takuro Miuchi, Siupelli Lokotui, John Carter, Malakai Ravulo

Chester Williams – manager

Probably one of Tana’s most applauded speeches.


Tuesday as we know was always going to be difficult

I’d highlighted my concerns earlier

I was right

It was murder, or least it felt like murder the next day

Only it continued to Kowloon for the RugbyFest

I managed to escape the all-encompassing gaze of KRFC supremo Anson Bailey

But not former Scottish international Brendon "Chainsaw" Laney

How can you possibly become more intoxicated in a taxi?

When you have no more alcohol to hand?

Simply share a vehicle with two other hard drinking associates

With the windows up

Even the driver was starting to loosen up

I love those Cantonese ballads on the radio

Straight to front door of the Hong Kong Football Club

Now I’d anticipated that I would make it to the Tens

On Thursday

To ensure this, I’d not secured a ticket.

"Sorry chaps, I can go no further, so I bid you a wonderful evening and I will see you either:

A) In Wan Chai


C) In the morning, because I am going to bed

"Hi Jedi, here’s your media pass"

Six words that felt more like six of the best from Mr Cameron, my primary school English teacher

"Thank you so much" – cover blown, in I go.

It’s not the lack of sleep, well it is the lack of sleep

It’s not the abundance of booze

Nor the fine food on offer

God I love those bacon baps, and selling them in the evening is surely the sign of a sophisticated society

It’s not the peer pressure to conform

It’s the lack of personal discipline

So I’m really drinking to forget that.

Still it’s Saturday morning

Day two of the world’s greatest rugby tournament

It’s great to be alive.