'Big Dave' McDonagh waxes lyrical on Sequins' glittering traditions
They come from far and wide to the Hong Kong Sevens, in fact, they travel the seven seas. "Big Dave" McDonagh is a typical Australian country bloke, despite the fact he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sequins (the required accessory of his group of former Tens players who call themselves the Sequins).
There are no flies on his description of the Sevens, even if he hails from a place called Gunnedah where swatting blowflies is what they call "the Aussie salute".
"Hong Kong Sevens remains my favourite time of the year. It's been 10 years since I started my annual pilgrimage," says Big Dave. "I love the atmosphere of the stadium, the people, the music, the entertainment mixed with the fastest and best rugby action you will see. Hong Kong has been staging these mini Olympics for many years; it's only now the actual Olympics are starting to notice this wonderful game.
"They tell me 2013 for a Gemini like me is going to be one of the best yet, so I am expecting big things from the Australians," he says, revealing an unexpected New Age side. "Under the leadership of coach Michael O'Connor, a player from my days of club rugby in Australia, I am hoping our winning the Shield at the Las Vegas Sevens is a good omen."'
"The Sevens for me has been remarkable with friendships fostered over the odd beer and always laughs with Big Ed, Crusty and my childhood mate, Aiden. Like the time the boys and I went to Lan Kwai Fong post-match and I left my credit card behind the bar. I went back 12 months later and it was still there. My friendship with the boys and the people of Hong Kong is bigger than rugby and will last many more losses by the Australians.
"Over the years our Sequins box has welcomed people from Australia, the United Kingdom, US, France, UAE and who could forget the bloody Kiwis - our very own United Nations comes together at So Kon Po. We've seen Popes, Mickey Mouse, and the Pink Panther in the crowds and this year in recognition of The Beach Boys we're standing out in Hawaiian shirts overlaid with the distinguished Sequin vest.
"From our box, we've seen people come and go, girlfriends come and go, and wives come and go, but the friendship of a Sequin shines brightly," he said.