It’s Sevens season! Whether you’re a rugby nut, a fancy dress fanatic or a complete newbie, the HK Sevens has something for everyone. Here are 10 top tips to help you make the most of Hong Kong’s hottest sports event. Ready to play?
1. Tournament 101
7s is a fast-paced, shorter version of the traditional game, with two halves of 7 minutes each and 7 players per team. Score a try for 5 points and a conversion (post-try kick) for 2 additional points. Players battle it out for points on the HSBC World Sevens Series and a place at the Olympics. The louder you cheer, the better they play.
2. The lowdown on logistics
Take the MTR to Causeway Bay (Exit F), then join the buzzing throngs of 7s fans to make the pilgrimage up Caroline Hill Road. You’ll see coffees, croissants and the odd beer in hand as fans vie for the best seats in the house. Head to the Hong Kong Stadium website for specific info on location, access and regulations. Gates open at 08:00am on Friday, 7:00am on Saturday and 7:00am am on Sunday. Southstanders swarm in early but other stands are more relaxed as people come and go. Not sure which stand is your vibe? Read on …
3. Take a seat, make a stand
All 4 stands of the Hong Kong Stadium offer great views of the action but have different selling points. Here’s what you need to know.
- The North Stand is for people keen to get a closer look at the players, follow every second of the action and maybe even sit with the famous Fijian fans in light blue.
- The East Stand, especially right at the top, is ideal for some semblance of peace and quiet – especially popular on Sunday mornings if you’re nursing a heavy head.
- The South Stand is notorious for its fun, games and debauchery. It’s the iconic, wild side that may spring to mind when you think “HK7s” but actually only makes up a quarter of the stands.
- The West Stand is for hardcore rugby fans, filling game scores in newspapers and actually watching the rugby.
4. Packing essentials
Tried-and-tested fanny pack staples include: Pain killers, sunscreen, wet wipes, plasters, a loaded Octopus Card, sunglasses, a battery pack, and enough cash for drinks and a late-night taxi home. Don’t forget a rain jacket or bin bag (for classy fans) – April in Hong Kong is notorious for its surprise downpours.
5. A family-friendly 7s
The 7s is a weekend for the whole family. So many of us, now in our *ahem* adult years, have fond memories of watching the game from our parents’ shoulders. Trying to keep little ones in their seats? Try a costume-edition round of “I spy with my little eye…” (bonus points if you spot Peppa Pig) or snag a souvenir or two from sponsor booths on the main concourse.
6. Dress to impress
Rugby jerseys and “I heart HK” tops are the height of HK7s fashion – but if you’re braving the South Stand, it’s a whole new ballgame. Smurfs, Minions, lifeguards, Ninja Turtles and Wonder Woman all make regular appearances in the stands. This year, expect to see Rihannas clad in red, wizards robes, wannabe Wednesday Addams and “too old for Leo” shirts in the mix. Hit up HK’s inspiration stations: Pottinger Street, Ladies Market and Sham Shui Po and tag us in your stories for a chance to feature on our Instagram!
Remember to keep it decent, don’t go so big you block your bestie’s view, and avoid props that may be mistaken for real weapons. For the lowdown on clothing do’s and don’ts, check out the stadium’s rules before you go. Tip: Closed-toe shoes are key to combat the signature sticky stadium floors.
Eat a hearty breakfast before you head out for the day. With 3 days of action ahead, now is the time to carbo load! A local cha chaan teng brunch always hits the spot – think macaroni and eggs on toast or a hearty bowl of beef noodles. Keep in mind that restaurants in the area will be busy, but you can always leave the stadium and re-enter.
8. Names to know
On or off the pitch, this global tournament boasts global names. Our lineup includes South Korean superstar DJ Soda, HK’s favourite Ska band The Red Stripes, one of Cantopop’s biggest names with a surprise performance, and Belgian sensation Plastic Bertrand – whose smash hit Ça Plane Pour Moi is guaranteed to bring the stadium to life.
Former players and 7s icons who will make an appearance this year include Jim Hamilton & Greg Laidlaw, (Scotland) Christy Cheng (Hong Kong China), DJ Forbes (New Zealand), Rochelle ‘Rocky’ Clark, Jodie Ounsley & Nick Easter (England), Jamie Roberts (Wales), and Kevin Maggs (Ireland) Go say hi and maybe even snap a photo when you see them wandering the main concourse!
9. Hometown heroes
With men’s, women’s and mini teams on the pitch, there’ll be plenty to cheer for at this year’s 7s. No matter who you’re supporting, be sure to shout out our very own HK7s teams. Sporting both familiar faces and the next generation, our home teams have put – quite literally – blood, sweat and tears into the game. Keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook channels for a chance to get to know them a little better.
10. Lyrics to learn
It only takes a few chorus lyrics to feel like a true 7s fan. Give these songs a listen and you’ll be able to roar along with the crowd in no time: Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond, Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners, Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis, Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi, I’m Always Here by Jimi Jamison (“Baywatch” theme song), Red Red Wine by UB40, I’m Going to Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers, and Hey Baby by DJ Ötz.