Was it just luck that the Hong Kong Sevens became the greatest sporting event in the world? No. It's not easy to reach such dizzying heights. It takes a few essential ingredients. Yes, a bunch of fit blokes running around in fairly tight clobber being cheered on by pneumatic young things in even less helps. As does the beer, and the other blokes in skimpy dresses and superhero outfits. But are these enough? No. Because, like every highly tuned sporting body, the Sevens needs fuel. And the fuel of choice: the meat pie. A perfect balance of carbohydrates, meat and gravy, with an optional vegetable in the shape of squeezable tomato sauce - one of the world's greatest sources of antioxidants. Well informed sources suggest that roughly 17,000 pies will be sold over the weekend. Sure, that pales in comparison to the litres of beer that will be consumed, spilled or otherwise disposed of, but beer is easy. Pies are not. Everyone has an opinion on how their pie should taste, and satisfying those wildly varying tastes is no small task. But, this year it seems they've got it right. Just ask Alison Leedale, a veteran of four Sevens, who confided that two years ago her tournament was almost ruined by a marginal pie experience. 'Yes, it was nearly ruined. Later in the day, the pies had dried out. It was a bit disappointing, especially when you only come for the pies.' A third of her way through the 2006 pie, she was fairly impressed. 'So far so good,' said Leedale, who had opted for the sauce garnish. 'It's got meat, it's got a lot of gravy and its holding together pretty well,' she said. The secret of this year's success: the pies were designed by a genuine French chef. Marc Toutain, executive chef at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile in Tsim Sha Tsui, is taking care of all the catering for this year's Sevens, but he has paid special attention to the pies. Because of the sheer volume of pie consumption, the job of constructing the pies had to be outsourced to a factory somewhere on the outskirts of this fine city. But formulating the correct pastry to meat to gravy ratios took a series of exhausting tastings, beginning in January. 'This year we have 10,000 [on hand] but I think we will sell more.' Paul Rameka, from 'the Wellington region' in New Zealand was fairly impressed. 'It's car pie,' he said. Car pie, for those who don't know, is one of the most highly rated foods south of the equator. A good 'car pie' is one that, even doused in sauce, maintains its structural integrity while its owner drives down the road, munching away without fear of their crotch being plastered with steaming gravy. Asked if that's what he meant, Rameka replies simply: 'No.' 'It's K-A-P-A-I,' he says. 'In Maori it means very good.'