'A bit of a jolly': How humble Hong Kong Sevens shaped world rugby
The Hong Kong Sevens has grown from an end-of-season bash to a globally acclaimed festival of rugby, inspiring the World Cup Sevens and World Sevens Series - and tens of thousands of fans, who don outrageous fancy dress and party till they drop in the stands.
Its 43-year history has been liberally sprinkled with legends such as Jonah Lomu, David Campese, Waisale Serevi and Zinzan Brooke.
The growth of sevens resulted in rugby's return to the Olympics in 2016 after a 92-year absence.
Fiji's Waisale Serevi (L) is one of the most popular players in Hong Kong Sevens history. (Photo: AFP/Ted Aljibe)
"I always felt it was the nature of Hong Kong and its location. This is probably the most international city in Asia. And when the fans came in, this was all pretty good.
The seed for the Hong Kong Sevens was sown when ADC"Tokkie" Smith, then chairman of the Hong Kong RFU, attended the Scottish Rugby Union centenary sevens at Murrayfield in 1973.
"They were not helpful at all," says Stevenson."So the way around it was an invitational sevens. I don't think any of us expected it to take off. Well, it was absolutely enormous."
"But the countries up north, well, that was a different experience.
Hong Kong now enjoys a three-day 40,000 sellout of colour, costume and top-class sevens in April every year with plans to expand to a new, bigger stadium in 2023.
"You always had a New Zealand against Sri Lanka and a 50-0 wipeout or something. But when you spoke to the Sri Lankans they were over the moon.Read more: CNA
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