Loving the lull before the storm
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
"Don’t mind of if I do"
"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
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
B) In LKF
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.