Each March, the eyes of the rugby world are
firmly fixed on Hong Kong for the world-famous
Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, the world’s premier
annual rugby festival.
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens
takes centre stage on the international rugby calendar as the HSBC
Sevens World Series comes to town, but the Hong Kong Sevens is
more than just a tournament for spectators, it is a Mecca for
rugby players from all over the world.
players and 337 teams will take part in rugby tournaments and
matches in Hong Kong during the week; a fifth of those will be
from overseas who come to play before enjoying the big weekend
inside the Hong Kong Stadium.
Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is a time for the entire rugby
community and the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union and Hong Kong’s
various clubs offer a myriad of opportunities for players to play,
fans to watch and general enthusiasts to rekindle their love for
The excitement of the Cathay
Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens starts well ahead of the tournament
with a number of tournaments and social events bringing together
the local and international rugby communities in a week jammed
with rugby competitions and social engagements.
During what is known locally as “Rugby Week” the whole of Hong
Kong embraces the game with thousands of people taking to the pitches of Hong Kong as players and spectators at the many rugby
tournaments organized by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union domestic league clubs.
Thousands of players will
be amongst the 40,000 strong crowd packing out the Hong Kong
Stadium fresh from taking part in some of the many associate
competitions held in the build-up to the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong
These competitions run the gamut from
fiercely competitive tournaments like the
IRB Challenge Cup Hong
Kong (women’s sevens) and the GFI HKFC 10s to festive social
competitions like the Altus Kowloon Rugbyfest and the Beach Rugby
5s. Events for schools and youth teams also dot the calendar
during the week.
There is even a schools
tournament held for hearing-impaired youth in Hong Kong each
March, the Standard Chartered Chun Tok Sevens, which features
teams from the Chun Tok School and the Lutheran School for the
Deaf taking part in a tournament which is not only played in, but
organized by, the students from the two schools.
Even the kids get in on the act as children embrace the fun and
unique opportunities of playing against other youth teams from around the world and the thrill of being part of the 224-team
strong Mini and Youth Rugby Showcase at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
Rugby Week Events
Setting the festival mood, the action kicks off on the beach
at Repulse Bay with the second annual Hong Kong Beach 5’s tournament. Eighteen men’s and women’s teams, including some from
Russia this year, will take to the sand over two days to enjoy the
unique 5-a-side format and fun party atmosphere.
Tens has always featured prominently in the run up to the Sevens
and Hong Kong hosts some of the largest and most prominent ten-aside events in the world, including the long-running GFI HKFC
Tens, highly regarded as the premier ten-aside tournament in the
world. The GFI HKFC Tens will again be fiercely competitive, with
a dozen strong sides from overseas, many featuring current professionals and ex-internationals, taking on some of the best
local talent. On the social side, the Altus Kowloon RugbyFest
features 20 club-based teams, including teams from Rwanda and Laos
Youth rugby also plays a huge role in
Sevens week, as many of the local juniors play in the stadium
before the main event starts and enjoy the March Past on Sunday
The HKRFU also hosts the annual
Standard Chartered International Youth Rugby Tournament. This
year, 44 teams are involved in the event, with over 100 players
coming in from overseas.
For the first time ever
in 2012, the French International School will also host an Under
11s International Festival, with 16 French schools from around the
world coming to town to enjoy this event.
women’s rugby front, the Hong Kong Football Club will also play
host to the group stages of the
IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup
Hong Kong, featuring 12 of the top international women’s sevens
teams in world rugby. It is the 15th consecutive year of
international women’s sevens play in Hong Kong and the
International Rugby Board has recognized the strong position of women’s rugby sevens in Hong Kong by choosing Hong Kong as one of
three international IRB Challenge Cup events in 2012. Exciting for
players and fans alike, the Plate final, both Cup semis and the
Cup final will be played during the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong
not only the social players that flock to Hong Kong in the event
week, there is also a major influx of current professional players
and rugby legends in and around the pitches of Hong Kong during
Around 30 former players and stars of
world rugby will be in Hong Kong during the 2012 Cathay
Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
Among the stars
taking part in this year’s tournaments as players or ambassadors
are recent Rugby World Cup players Mils Muliaina and Seilala
Mapusua and Scotland’s Graeme Morrison.
prominent names incoming for the event week include Justin
Marshall, Tana Umaga, Frank Bunce (all ex-New Zealand internationals), Chester Williams (ex-South Africa), David Campese
and Chris “Buddha” Handy (ex-Australia), Steve Thompson
(ex-England), Andy Nicol (ex-Scotland) and Serge Betsen
HSBC, co-title sponsors of the Cathay
Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, have assembled a high-profile team
of global rugby ambassadors to visit Hong Kong. The team includes
rugby legends Jonathan Davies (ex-Wales), George Gregan
(ex-Australia), Jason Robinson (ex-England) and John Kirwan
(ex-New Zealand) who will act as brand and event ambassadors,
helping to promote the sport during the week.
of these stars will be involved in local rugby club social
activities and tournaments as well as community-focused
initiatives, like running rugby clinics at local schools and
These are unique experiences for Hong
Kong’s amateur players and juniors to meet and play against such
renowned players and further serves to highlight the value of the
sevens, its attraction to the global rugby community and the
positive impact it has on the local community.
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