History-making Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens sees New Zealand celebrate tournament double

History-making Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens sees New Zealand celebrate tournament double

04 April 2023
Hong Kong Rugby Union notches up another successful tournament hot on the heels of November “return event”

The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) has notched up another successful Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens tournament hot on the heels of a special “return event” held in November 2022.

Riding on the positive local sentiment of the November event, the 2023 Hong Kong Sevens was back to its old self with plenty of action on and off the field and a return to the more relaxed vibes of pre-Covid tournaments.

New Zealand’s men’s and women’s teams secured a memorable tournament double in the first Hong Kong Sevens to stage both the men’s and women’s competitions in tandem.

The New Zealand women’s Black Ferns won their inaugural Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens tournament with a 26-17 win over Australia. Great Britain took out the bronze with a thrilling 22-19 victory over Fiji. France ran home winners for 5th place, beating Canada 22-14, while the USA placed 7th with a 15-14 win over Ireland.

The excitement of the women’s win was boosted by their All Blacks Sevens compatriots who overpowered Fiji 24-17 to take their first Hong Kong title since 2014. France took out the bronze with a nail-biting 19-17 win over Great Britain. Argentina’s defense paid off with 7-5 win over South Africa’s Blitzboks in the 5th place playoff, while Ireland beat Samoa 19-17 for 9th place. Hong Kong China were rallied by the ever-vocal and supportive local crowd to take 13th place with a 17-7 win over Canada.

HKRU chairman Chris Brooke thanked title sponsors Cathay and HSBC for their unswerving support of the Hong Kong Sevens, in particular their understanding and willingness to support two major events within the space of five months.

“Having our title sponsors and other sponsors join hands with us to stage not one by two successful Sevens within the space of five months has never happened before and is a testament to their support for Hong Kong, for Hong Kong Rugby and for the community we serve,” said Mr. Brooke.

“We look forward to working with all our sponsors and partners to build on the success of these past two events to stage an even more memorable event in 2024, which will be the last held at the Hong Kong Stadium.

“We would also like to thank the HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee, the Secretary for Sports, Culture and Tourism Kevin Yeung and other dignitaries who joined us to support the event as well as the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Major Sports Events Committee whose financial support helped us to provide a great experience for all who attended.”

HKRU Chief Executive Robbie McRobbie paid tribute to colleagues, the rugby community, volunteers, supporters – all of whom rallied behind the Union to keep the Sevens spirit alive and kicking during the past few very difficult years.

“We have been running the Hong Kong Sevens for more than 45 years and from the day it started, until now, we have always been fortunate to have a great team of people behind the event who love rugby and love Hong Kong,” said Mr. McRobbie.

“Our team works hard to make this the best Sevens in the world for the players, for supporters, for spectators, for sponsors and partners. We are determined to ensure that Hong Kong remains the global benchmark for Rugby Sevens tournaments.”

Mr. McRobbie stressed that although the Hong Kong Sevens was renowned for great rugby as well as fun atmosphere and party vibe – in full swing again this year! – it should be remembered that all proceeds were reinvested into developing rugby in Hong Kong and helping young people realise their potential through the power of sport.

For example, The Sevens raises funds for its official charity partner, Laureus Sport for Good, with funds contributing towards the Model City Hong Kong initiative, targeting efforts to improve youth mental health in Hong Kong. Some profits will be channeled to support sport-for-development efforts for its charitable foundation, Rugby for Good.

Mr. McRobbie said that while the HKRU team would be able to ease off a little after an incredibly busy period, planning for the next Sevens would start within a few months.

“We are very mindful that we need to constantly evolve, improve and set the standard. That’s what makes the Hong Kong Sevens so special and that’s what keeps us all engaged and working towards the common goal of delivering a great event,” said Mr. McRobbie.

“The 2024 Sevens will be the last at Hong Kong Stadium before our expected move to Kai Tak Sports Park in 2025, so it will be an incredibly special tournament for all of us with a lot of memories to share and a lot of new memories to look forward to. Stay tuned for updates later!”