Live: Hong Kong Sevens 2016 latest – Let’s talk like Honey Badger
Join the team as we bring you up to date with Sevens news and tidbits from teams, players and fans around Hong Kong
Wednesday, 6 April, 2016
We’re off like a bride’s nightie
Well, it’s that time of the night again ... we’re winding up in these here parts and leaving you with Harry’s cartoon of the day. It’s been a Badger of a day and we can’t wait to do this all over again on Thursday, when we will tell you about The Hoff’s concert and whatever else is happening around town in the build-up to the weekend. So, have a good night’s sleep and if your “old man wakes you up in the morning, make sure he doesn’t go off like a bag of cats.” Can’t sleep? Email us at [email protected].
Sevens braces for NFL power
Nate Ebner could be the shape of things to come for world rugby. The American, who won a Super Bowl ring in 2015, is playing in the GFI HKFC 10s, looking to sharpen his rugby skills and win a place in the United States sevens squad for the Rio Olympics.
Ebner scored a try for his team Samurai in their 33-5 victory over Projecx in his first day of competitive rugby. Our man on the case, Sam Agars, has already spoken to Ebner, so look out for his piece over the next few days.
By the way, we’re looking for late Badgerisms as we wind down. [email protected]
All that Jazz and Olympic sevens selection nightmares
Our Sevens guy Mathew Scott likes jazz music. So, you would think his writing would be elitist and catering to a mature audience whose higher intelligence enables them to find comprehension and solace in random words that give prose neither rhyme nor rhythm. But no! Mathew’s writing absolutely rocks! Read his story on how the Olympics is making it a nightmare for coaches as they seek their ideal 14 for the Rio Games. Watch the video of the coaches press conference below.
Back on the Badger trail
Well, we’re back online after a rare server issue. And in that time, you would have thought of dozens ... may hundreds of Badgerisms. While you do that, I’m going to be flat out like a lizard drinking catching up with what’s been happening in the Sevens universe. [email protected]
Zimbabwe desperate for World Series place
Zimbabwe want payback at the Hong Kong Stadium. Twice they came close to qualifying for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and twice they were denied. “We’re prepared. This tournament owes us so much,” says Zimbabwe captain Tafadzwa Chitokwindo. He tells Alex Jenkins all about it. Safe to say the Zimbabweans are “as mad as a cut snake”. More Badgerisms please to [email protected].
Escaping the Sevens
Are you one of those who doesn’t fancy indulging in three days of tribal rites at the Hong Kong Stadium? Do you want to be as far away from the forms of life that inhabit the South Stand during the day and creep into the alleyways of the city at night? Well, seemingly there is respite in Hong Kong. Check out Seven spots to escape the Rugby Sevens in Hong Kong this weekend. As one of our ad hoc Honey Badgers may say (Thank you, Bruce): “Don’t wanna be in the backyard with the pixies.”
Orienteering class for Hong Kong women
It’s all about team bonding for the Hong Kong side ahead of the Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens, which kicks off at King’s Park on Thursday. Coach Anna Richards had given her charges a special task that involved finding their way around Hong Kong, Amazing Race-style. Richards and her team have been working hard for the tournament and stay tuned for Sam Agars’ preview. In the meantime, you can watch the video of when the men’s and women’s Hong Kong teams were announced.
Also, keep those Honey Badger lines coming in. And please, no copying from his “33 Honey Badger best lines” ... that’s about as original as a Rolex in Temple Street. Heh heh.
Calling all Honey Badgers
Well, here I am busier than a one-armed brick-layer in Baghdad updating this here live show. Left on my own by colleagues chasing players and coaches all over Hong Kong, I’m having more problems than a one-legged tap dancer. Yes, that’s right ... we are in Honey Badger mode!
Nick Cummins, Australia’s archetypal larrikin (well, aren’t all larrikins Australian) is in town and doesn’t disappoint, says our Sevens social reporter Robby Nimmo, who spoke to the man who is taking ocker-ville to new horizons.
Robby decided to see if the Badger would don a pair of giant pluggers ... slippers, flip flops, thongs (no, not that kind), or whatever you want to call them. And Cummins jumped on the chance to fuel his reputation for mayhem and madness. By the way, the Badger is an awesome sevens player as those who have seen him at his best can attest.
The Badger took the time to explain the culture of pluggers in Australia, saying.
“You’ve got your Double Pluggers see. They are standard issue when you’re a young bloke and you reach around the 13 mark. They’ve got two plugs underneath for strength.”
Indeed, Nick. To celebrate his presence in Hong Kong, we now want our readers to become Honey Badgers for the rest of the week and send us your best Badgerisms ... borrowed or original, but keep it clean. To quote the Blackadder, I’m as excited as a terribly excited person who has a really good reason for being terribly excited to see your contributions. Email at [email protected].
Here’s one already: “Faster than a chook [chicken] on the run from Ronald McDonald.”
And another one: “He wouldn’t shout if a shark bit him.” (of that one guy in the gang who never buys a round).
Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam in All Blacks 7s final 12
New Zealand have confirmed their final 12 for the Hong Kong Sevens ... and (sigh of relief) pin-up star Sonny Bill Williams makes the cut. Fellow All Blacks 15s player Liam Messam is also in the squad led by veteran Tim Mikkelson. The news in New Zealand is that Pita Ahki returns since last playing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games while Isaac Te Tamaki comes back from injury. Coach Gordon Tietjens says: “Pita’s a very capable footballer and very experienced in sevens rugby having played at Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013 where we won. He’s very good defensively and a strong attacking player. He’s in the Hurricanes now and for them to release him is certainly great moving forward because he’s got an opportunity now to really stamp his mark and have a crack at making Rio.”
All Blacks Sevens squad: Pita Ahki (North Harbour), Kurt Baker (Taranaki), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Gillies Kaka (Hawke’s Bay), Liam Messam (Waikato), Tim Mikkelson (Captain, Waikato), Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Lewis Ormond (Taranaki), Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato), Regan Ware (Waikato), Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau).
Lan Kwai Fong Sevens Carnival
Well, as promised ... here’s the fun and revelry from the Sevens Carnival in Lan Kwai Fong on Tuesday night. Kevin Kung was there to capture the moments.
Who scored the first-ever Hong Kong Sevens try in 1976?
The Hong Kong Sevens has featured some of the biggest names to ever fondle the oval ball. Jonah Lomu, David Campese, the Ella brothers, Will Carling, Les Cusworth, Eric Rush and, of course, Waisale Serevi. Simply too many to mention.
One name, though not among the superstars, will forever be etched in Hong Kong Sevens annals ... Stephen Streeter. His place in history was confirmed in 1976 when he became the first man to score a try in the Hong Kong Sevens. He was representing the Wallaroos and his try came in the opening game against Korea, which they won 21-4. The Wallaroos lost to New Zealand’s Cantabrians in the final and Streeter went on to play 12 games for Australia, including one test.
Robby Nimmo has spoken to Streeter (pictured below on the right chasing Fijian winger Seremaia Tui Cavuilati in 1976), who makes regular trips back for the Sevens, so watch out for her piece this weekend. Here’s a teaser of what to expect. Streeter says:
“After that first Sevens, I was awarded a medal. It was either given to me by [Tokkie] Smithy or Rothman. He said to me: ‘This will mean nothing to you now, but it will in years to come.’ He had the vision. Who would have thought that the Hong Kong Sevens would go on to be a global tournament encompassing Vegas, Vancouver and Sydney. It all came from that event back in 1976.”
Talk to us
If you have a comment, seen something Sevens-ish around town, have a pic to share .... email us at [email protected]
The Hoff and the Restless
Greetings and welcome to our live updates of news, views, pictures, videos and all things Sevens-ish. This is Nazvi (I’m the vacant one in our team meeting video) taking you through the day. Our super-busy all-round journo colleague Kevin Kung was up late last night at Lan Kwai Fong and is keen for me to launch today’s feed with his video on the Sevens goings-on among Hong Kong’s partying elite.
But ... I thought why not start with another musing on The Hoff, who, after all, is dominating the day today by hosting the concert in So Kon Po featuring The Proclaimers (it takes a wee bit of talent to sing in a Scottish accent) and ABBA tribute band Bjorn Again.
The Hoff item, though, has nothing to do with “Knight Ryder” or “Baywatch”. For those who remember the 70s ... er, so I’m told, David Hasselhoff earned his Hollywood stripes in the daytime soap “The Young & the Restless”, as humble Dr Snapper Foster healing hearts and bodies in Genoa City.
Go behind the scenes with The Hoff as he revisits the set.
Tuesday, April 5
Watch New Zealand train
Right, thanks very much for joining us. Things are winding down at this end. This is Nazvi Careem signing off but we’ll be back giving you updates from Wednesday morning as we head towards kick-off on Friday. The last goodie for tonight is a video by our man Kevin Kung of New Zealand’s training session on Tuesday morning.
Australia will take much value from Hong Kong
It was a great Australia team who won the 1988 Hong Kong Sevens – and they have never won it since. Certainly, the Aussies bring one of their strongest squads in years, with the Honey Badger providing a dash of colour. Sam Agars went to see them train on Tuesday. Here’s his story.
Hong Kong squad finalised - injury rules out Max Woodward
Yes, it’s confirmed. Sadly for Max Woodward, he hasn’t been able to recover fully from a thigh strain and the management feels it’s simply too risky with an important Olympic qualifier around the corner. Jamie Hood takes over as captain. Mathew Scott has the story.
Germans back after 24 years
Did you know that Germany won a silver medal in rugby at the 1900 Olympic Games? We did. And did you know the captain of the Germany team at this year’s Hong Kong Sevens is called Clemens von Grumbkow? It’s the kind of name that deserves a “Baron” in front of it. Our man Alex Jenkins went to Shek Kip Mei to find him, only to be told they had moved training to King’s Park. Still, Alex was able to catch up with them. Read his story here.
Sonny Bill Williams is fine, says All Blacks coach
The media gathered at So Kon Po in the hope of talking to code-hopping world champion Sonny Bill Williams but the sevens newcomer was off limits to the press on Tuesday. However, New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens assured us their marquee player was fine after an injury threatened his appearance in Hong Kong. The coach tells Matt Scott about Williams’ influence on the side.
Meet our team
Australian coach Andy Friend talks about the potential impact former rugby league player Frank Winterstein will have on the Wallabies Sevens team.
“He’s been training with us for the last six weeks. Close to being ready and we will definitely look to use him in Hong Kong or Singapore.
“He has a lot of professional experience at 28 years old. He has been a rugby league for the last decade and a rugby union player. He has something we don’t have a lot of in our squad, which is size and the ability to offload.
“If you watch Fiji or New Zealand play, they play with big men dominating up the middle of the park, able to carry the ball with one hand and attract one or two defenders and then get an offload away. “Frankie brings that to us, which is something quite unique for our team and we just need to see how we fit that into our game, so he will get that opportunity to show that.”
Harry’s snapshots of Hong Kong
It’s that time of year again, when Hong Kong plays host to thousands of rugby fans from around the globe for the Sevens, one of the highlights of the city’s sporting year. In a daily feature, SCMP cartoonist Harry Harrison looks at some of the culture clashes in store.
Hong Kong Sevens 2016 fixtures & results
Click here to see the Hong Kong Sevens fixture list over the three days.
Families are encouraged to visit the HSBC Sevens Village on the grounds of the Indian Recreation Club at So Kon Po. Admission is free from Friday to Sunday.
Celebrate the rugby spirit with your friends and family, especially if you are among those unable to obtain a ticket this year.
Along with events at Chater Garden in Central, the public can:
* Watch live streaming of the tournament on a giant screen all weekend.
* Send a video message at the HSBC “Cheer on the Hong Kong Rugby Team” video booth in Chater Garden in Central on Wednesday and Thursday of tournament week. The best messages will be broadcast at the Sevens Village.
* Have fun and learn new skills at the HSBC #BRINGYOURGAME Zone, where fans and families can join interactive rugby, golf and tennis games and get a chance to win fun prizes.
* Let your kids take part in art workshops, face painting and other fun activities.
* Meet rugby legends and HSBC Ambassadors Brian O’Driscoll, Jason Robinson, George Gregan and Gavin Hastings and try to beat them at the Rugby Sevens Superstar’s Challenge.
*Enjoy live entertainment and musical performances from popular Scottish bag-pipe band the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
*Dine at various food stands feature a wide choice of snacks and drinks from The Butchers Club, Cali-Mex and Bread & Beast.
*HSBC Premier customers can get special Rugby Refuel vouchers in the village on a first-come-first-served basis.
Hong Kong captain injured?
We are hearing that Hong Kong captain Max Woodward and Jack Capon are out of the Hong Kong team because of injury. The captaincy is reportedly handed back to Jamie Hood. Stay tuned for more on this. Here are the Hong Kong team profiles.
Donate for Fiji
This year at the Hong Kong Stadium, funds raised from Diamond Vision screen messaging will go towards relief operations for the victims of Cyclone Winston in Fiji.
Traditionally the funds have been allocated to the HKRU Charitable Trust Fund supporting education for disadvantaged local rugby players to allow them to maintain their involvement in rugby.
However, in light of the sheer devastation in Fiji, in which hardly a single family was spared – including members of the Fiji Sevens team – it was decided to this year allocate the money to help those who have lost loved ones, homes and businesses.
The minimum donation for the messaging board is HK$200 a pop.
Messages can be placed from the information booth immediately opposite the main gates.
Read Matt Scott’s interview with Fiji coach Ben Ryan on exactly how the cyclone affected the people and the team.
Talk to us
If you have a comment, seen something Sevens-ish around town, have a pic to share .... email us at [email protected]
James Cunningham is one of the finds of the seasons for Hong Kong as the home side look to qualify as a core team for the Sevens World Series. The Hong Kong-born, Australia-raised, player said:
“My parents came back over for the Cup of Nations and took at look at our old house in Clear Water Bay. It was the first time they’d been back and they saw a couple of Lamborghinis parked in the drive way - so the guess was that the rents have gone up here!”
And on training at the Hong Kong Sports Institute:
“I can’t think of another programme in the world that has access to what there is here,” says Cunningham. “Have the stuff I couldn’t even tell you what it is. Because there’s so many athletes in this facility they have to cater for everything. It’s a playground for athletes.”
Read Matt Scott’s piece for when the Hong Kong squad was announced.
Eagles ready to soar
The United States have been the revelation of this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series, roping in sprinters and former American football players. They’re are definitely a threat at the Hong Kong Sevens. Read Sam Agars’ piece after his interview with coach Mike Friday.
Welcome Sevens fans, with a word from The Hoff
Welcome to the SCMP’s coverage of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2016. Stay with us as we bring you news, pics, video and nuggets from around the city from teams, fans, officials and whoever else has even a smidgeon to do with the Sevens as we build up to the event.
This is Nazvi, getting you started but we will also have tidbits from our Sevens team, including James Porteous, Matt Scott, Sam Agars, Robby Nimmo and Alex Jenkins, among others.
What better way to get things moving than a gem from Mr Baywatch himself, The Hoff, or David Hasselhoff as he used to be known. The Hoff will be hosting Wednesday’s kick-off concert featuring ABBA tribute band Bjorn Again and The Proclaimers.
Matt Scott interviewed him and you can look forward to reading his piece on Friday. But here’s what The Hoff said to Matt when he asked him about Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (you need to be ‘The something’ to be on this show) and Zac Efron and their new ‘Baywatch’ film.
“You know they could have been stuck up guys but they really weren’t. The Rock brought his mother down to meet me and couldn’t have been nicer and Zac Efron spent a day off with me and asked all about it. I told him I thought it had a heart, there was humour and there was action. I told him to have fun but don’t make fun of it. If you make fun of it you’re going to lose the audience. Baywatch wasn’t the smartest TV ever made but it was fun.”