image

Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2016

Live: Hong Kong Sevens 2016 updates – Hoff and puff, news and, of course, more Badgerisms

Join the team as we bring you up to date with Sevens news and tidbits from teams, players and fans around Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 April, 2016, 7:34pm
UPDATED : Monday, 11 April, 2016, 11:29pm

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Hong Kong Sevens build-up: updated regularly (Apologies to readers who may have experienced updating issues. Sevens gremlins).

Tuesday and Wednesday updates

 

Until we meet again ...

Well, it’s been a wonderful three days with the Hong Kong Sevens community here and abroad. Time to refresh and re-energise for Friday’s opening day. Our blog pioneer James Porteous (Yes, BBC copied him) will take his usual place in the chair once the action starts at the Hong Kong Stadium. James is a Scotsman who sounds like an Irishman, so the pith and irony of two great Celtic cultures will hit you with full force at noon on Friday ... three days of it. Thanks for your feedback and thanks to The Hoff and Honey Badger. This is Nazvi Careem signing off.

Say it again: the Hong Kong Sevens is the best in the world

Right, the main pre-tournament press conference is done and dusted, the side-shows are starting to become less important as the teams perpare for kick-off on Friday evening. Read Mathew Scott’s preview for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2016.

It appears that the main theme of the presser was yet another reiteration (yes, that's tautology, but so what?!) that the Hong Kong Sevens is, indeed, the best in the world.

Many conversations this week gravitates towards the very substance of this unique event and its place in the world series, and few apologies for saying it again and again and again.

So here we go again – the Hong Kong Sevens is simply the best tournament of its kind in the world.

Nate Ebner on Olympic charge

We promised you a piece on Nate Ebner , the New England Patriots NFL star wanting to make the US rugby sevens Olympic team, and Sam Agars has done a fantastic job. Ebner is truly driven, partly by the memory of his late, rugby-playing father, to earn his place in the Eagles line-up. Here is Sam’s article.

Also, we have another Badgerism for you, for when you roll your eyes at someone for something that is “as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle.” Thanks Chris for that one.

Hollywood star Chris Hemsworth gets a kick out of the Sevens

From our man at Ocean Terminal, Alex Jenkins:

Chris Hemsworth wasn’t in any “Rush” to leave after his appointment in Tsim Sha Tsui with sponsors Tag Heuer today – such was the enjoyment the 32-year-old actor had in displaying his rugby skills to the assembled press.

There was plenty to Marvel about the tall, handsome actor – so much so that he wouldn’t look out of place pulling on the famous gold jersey for the Aussie Thunderbolts this weekend.

One would have “Thor” that with his Aussie Rules background, Hemsworth would have no problems completing the challenge set for him – a 20-metre place-kick in front of some makeshift posts on top of Ocean Terminal. And so it proved.

Both “Home and Away”, Hemsworth is a definite crowd-pleaser and he was able to clear the bar with ease.

My “Blackhat” goes off to him.

Campo at his best – ‘Now in my day!’

At the risk of harping on about how good things were in the old days, it’s time to harp on about how good things were in the old days.

And who better at harping than Australia’s legendary winger/full back Campo.

Things were done differently in David Campese’s time, though the one thing that hasn’t changed is that the Aussies still get roundly booed. It’s Hong Kong Sevens tradition and Campo loves tradition.

“It’s a shame it’s not the Olympics in my day,” Campese said to Robby Nimmo about sevens making its Olympics debut this summer in Rio.“I got booed, it’s not changed. The world comes together at the Hong Kong Sevens.”

Campese then went on to outline the military-like regimen the Australians followed in winning the Sevens in the early 80s.

“In our day, we trained for an hour, then went shopping,” he said. “Next day went shopping again and then played for an hour. And repeat. It’s not like that now.”

Sacrilege indeed! (Not sure if that was actually a Badgerism - Ed)

But Campo’s only thinking about the fans, and he has a point as Gil Darnell mentioned earlier when talking about spectators sitting with the players in the stands.

“It’s a game for the people, not about the teams,” said Campese. “That’s what drives the sport. The good thing is this year we have some big names like Sonny Bill Williams.

“In my era, we had all the names and test players here. The more of them they see the bigger the Hong Kong sevens will become.”

Kiwis to win it, says Kiwi Stowers

Sam Agars has been following the women’s rugby at King’s Park and the 10s tournament at Football Club, where he bumped into All Blacks Sevens star Sherwin Stowers.

Fresh from tearing up the pitch for Tradition YCAC in the GFI HKFC 10s, recovering Stowers backed his teammates to get the job done at this weekend.

“I’m calling it right now, I reckon the boys will win it this weekend,” Stowers said. “The boys have been preparing well and it’ll be a New Zealand-Fiji final, I reckon.”

On the recovery trail from a broken arm, Stowers is using the 10s to get some run in his legs in a bid to boost his Olympic hopes.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent to play in Hong Kong, I came back in Vancouver but came back a little bit too early, so I’m just trying to get some games under my belt,” Stowers said. “Hopefully I’ll put my foot forward in terms of the Olympic spot, but I’m just focusing on the now at the moment.”

On watching from the sidelines: “The boys are travelling alright, hopefully they don’t do too well without me.”

Should have asked him for some Badgerisms, Sam. nazvi.careem@scmp.com

Maybe he’s got his own dialect – George Gregan on Honey Badger

We’re still on the Honey Badger theme and it seems Australian players also see the value of having a man from the bush who can also play rugby in their midst. Robby Nimmo, who interviewed Nick Cummins this week, tells of how other Aussie sevens players listening in were cracking up during their chat. And former Wallabies skipper George Gregan, who is in Hong Kong as one of the HSBC ambassadors, is also a fan.

I’m always in tears and laughing when I hear what he says
George Gregan, on Nick Cummins

Gregan, who led Australia to the 2003 World Cup final when they lost to England and was part of their 1999 winning team, was unable to provide a Badgerism, because “I’m always in tears and laughing when I hear what he says”.

“He’s an interesting character and brings a lot of personality to the game on and off the field,” said Gregan. “He works really hard on his game but he’s just a fun guy.

“He talks first and thinks about it later but he just wants to get out and play so everyone loves him.”

On where the Badger gets his lingo, Gregan says: “They are Aussie sayings, sort of a different dialect, maybe he’s got his own dialect. But he’s certainly a character.”

Gregan and fellow HSBC ambassadors and rugby greats Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland), Gavin Hastings (Scotland) and Jason Robinson (England) on Thursday were at a traditional Hong Kong-style tea cafe yesterday in Causeway Bay.

Joined by Hong Kong players Charles Cheung and Jamie Tsang, they learned to make Hong Kong’s famous milk tea under the guidance of a local tea master while also enjoying some Cantonese delicacies.

Said Gregan: “Hong Kong is a very special place for all of us. We’ve enjoyed every moment of it, and this local style café adventure will definitely go down as one of our best memories of Hong Kong. We’re all very excited to be back this year to attend the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2016, and look forward to a thrilling tournament ahead.”

No Bones about it, actor Gil Darnell loves the Hong Kong Sevens

Actor Gil Darnell, an Australian raised in Hong Kong, has fond memories of the Hong Kong Sevens way back when it was first held at the Hong Kong Football Club. He also took in a few tournaments at the Hong Kong Stadium as well when it held 28,000 people.

A former KGV school student, Gil has carved out a successful Hollywood career. He has had guest appearances in Reign, based on the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, and is now playing photographer Sebastian Kohl on popular Fox series Bones. His movies include Redirected, co-starring Vinnie Jones. Gil was seen by hundreds of millions of Americans and people around the world who watched the Super Bowl in 2011 as he featured in one of the most popular ads for that game for carmaker Audi.

Of the Hong Kong Sevens, he says: “I remember sitting among the Ella brothers [Mark and Glen], Roger Gould etc before they became famous. I loved how close and accessible they were in those days and the atmosphere was amazing!

“Also when [David] Campese first arrived on the scene ... he was magic! In those days we’d see the up and coming superstars before they became world famous in the test matches. Now they’re all 7’s specialists and different from the test players.”

Watch Gil Darnell’s Super Bowl ad below

Like most rugby fans, Gil is caught up with Honey Badger fever and he willingly contributed a couple of his favourite Badgerisms, though these can’t be traced back to Nick Cummins himself.

On sleeping on the beach instead of surfing because of sharks:

“I was gonna go for a surf but it was full of Noah’s so I just had a kip on the beach instead!” (Noah’s is short for rhyming slang Noah’s Ark, which means shark).

And on being full after a heavy meal:

“Mate I’m as full as a Pommie complaint box!” (Pommie, meaning English person, but you knew that).

Thanks Gil for your contribution and all the best with your career. Remember, any Badgerisms to nazvi.careem@scmp.com

Good start for Hong Kong and China in women’s Sevens

Hong Kong have made a flying start to the Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens at King’s Park, beating Sri Lanka in their opening game. China also grabbed victory, although they had to fight to beat Kazakhstan 10-5 in their pool game. Watch Kevin Kung’s video report below.

Tribute to Jonah Lomu and Beth Coalter

Anyone who has reported rugby in Hong Kong owe a debt to Beth Coalter. When chasing stories or gathering information, Beth was the one we went to on how best to proceed. She kept confidential what needed to be held back while at the same time offering cryptic hints that pointed us in the direction of a great story. Coaches and players came and went but Beth stayed. When she left Hong Kong to work with World Rugby, the city lost a true stalwart of the game. When she passed away last year, the rugby world lost a legend.

Eric Rush, the New Zealand great, said Beth should have been the eighth member of the Magnificent Seven that was named last year – a tribute many players and coaches would have no problem echoing.

On the field, Jonah Lomu was a Collosus. Hong Kong fans are particularly pround because he made his name here before he stepped on to the world stage at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Fittingly, the HKRU will pay tribute to Lomu and Beth on Friday evening at the Hong Kong Stadium. It’s where it started for both of them and there’s no better place to remember them than in Hong Kong. Here’s the story.

I can seeeeeee, The Hoff is so good to meeeeeeee ...

It’s been a crazy night, with the Sevens world going crazy over the Honey Badger Nick Cummins. So we are forced to continue with the Badger theme today as well, so keep coming back for some cryptic comments from former Wallabies captain George Gregan and Hong Kong-raised Australian actor Gil Darnell, who has some cracking Badgerisms of his own.

However, let’s put the Aussie larrikin to one side for the moment. Welcome to day three of our live Hong Kong Sevens updates, this is Nazvi Careem again ... please, no applause ... and we have a great line-up of tidbits today. So, in the grandest tradition of this three-day-old blog, let’s start the day with none other than The Hoff!

The ‘Knight Rider’ and ‘Baywatch’ legend proved to be one heck of a crooner at the Sevens Village Kick Off Concert on Wednesday night, according to our Robby Nimmo, despite the typical Hong Kong humidity. And the folks who turned up also rocked to The Proclaimers and ABBA tribute band Bjorn Again (seen main picture), who will be performing at the Sevens this weekend.

“Despite the humidity Hong Kong style, the Hoff Sang up a storm with songs from Delilah to a bit of Glenn Campbell,” said Nimmo, who explained the reason why, why, why he performed the Tom Jones classic was because the Welshman himself had to cancel for family reasons.

“But The Hoff was the next best thing,” she added. “ The inagurual Sevens Village Kick Off Concert has cemented its place as a great night out in HK Sevens Week. Let the games begin!”

By the way, if you haven’t already, read Matt Scott’s feature on The Hoff here.

More from the Concert coming up later. Remember, Badgerisms to nazvi.careem@scmp.com