The lives of Jonah Lomu and Beth Coalter will be
celebrated with special memorial events to take place during the
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2016.
following the tournament’s Opening Ceremony on Friday, 8 April,
at 17.46, rugby fans in the stadium will lead and represent
millions more around the world in remembering two pillars of the
game: playing legend Lomu and former HKRU and World Rugby
executive Coalter, both of whom passed away in late 2015.
Accompanying videos will be played on the big screen inside the
stadium during the commemoration.
“Jonah Lomu and Beth
Coalter were two seminal figures in our history who helped make
the Hong Kong Sevens what it is today; one taking centre stage on
the pitch and one working tirelessly behind the scenes. We can’t
think of a more fitting way to honour their memories and recognise
their immense contributions than with this tribute from the Hong
Kong Sevens crowd who have so much to thank them for,” said HKRU
Chairman Pieter Schats, speaking on behalf of the entire Hong Kong
Jonah Lomu - A Legend
Jonah Lomu made his debut Hong Kong appearance in 1994, giving
Sevens fans a privileged opportunity to witness a superstar in the
making. The towering teenager arrived in Hong Kong as an
unheralded youngster but exited the Sevens on the cusp of stardom.
Months after debuting in Hong Kong he was selected as the
then youngest-ever All Black at just 19 years and 45 days old,
making his fifteen-a-side debut against France. The following year
he cemented his reputation as rugby’s most unstoppable force by scoring seven tries at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa.
Lomu would return to the Hong Kong Sevens in 1995 and 1996,
anchoring New Zealand to three successive tournament victories and
securing himself an abiding place in Hong Kong Sevens’ sporting
lore. He was named the Leslie Williams Award winner for Best &
Fairest Player of the Sevens in 1995.
Lomu returned to the
accolades of the 40,000 fans inside the Hong Kong Stadium last
year after he was named to the tournament’s ‘Magnificent Seven’,
the top seven players to have appeared in Hong Kong over the past
40 years of the Sevens.
Beth Coalter Trophy for Newcomer of
the Year Inaugurated
The Hong Kong Rugby Union lost another
influential member of the world sevens family last October with
the passing of Beth Coalter, a much-loved former HKRU executive
who played an instrumental role in making the Hong Kong Sevens the
international success story it has become, and who subsequently
went on to join the World Rugby family, extending her impact on
the global game.
To honour Coalter, the Hong Kong Rugby
Union has inaugurated a new trophy for the Cathay Pacific / HSBC
Hong Kong Sevens, starting from the 2016 tournament.
eponymous silverware will be named the Beth Coalter Trophy for
Newcomer of the Year and will be awarded each year to the player
who gives the most outstanding debut Hong Kong Sevens performance.
The award will be voted on by the panel of three who
decide on the event’s annual Leslie Williams Award for Best &
Fairest Player of the Sevens each year: New Zealand rugby
commentator Keith Quinn, Welsh rugby commentator Wyn Gruffydd and
Hong Kong’s own Bob Lloyd, a former England international.
Emblematic of the esteem Coalter was held in around the Sevens
world, New Zealand legend Eric Rush commented at last year’s 40
Years of the Sevens dinner in Hong Kong that the Magnificent Seven
– the HKRU’s team of the seven greatest players in Hong Kong
history should have included an eighth member in Beth Coalter.
The trophy will be the first new piece of silverware
introduced to the tournament since the inception of the World
Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier trophy in 2012.
joining World Rugby as Sevens Operations Manager, Beth worked for
the Hong Kong Rugby Union from 1987 to 2005, having left her
native Ireland for Hong Kong in 1974. She rose to the position of
Hong Kong Sevens Tournament Manager for the Union, shaping much of
the Sevens experience the expected cumulative 120,000 fans will
enjoy this weekend.
“The great majority of the Hong Kong
rugby community have never experienced a Sevens without Beth, but
we are pleased to have found a fitting way to honour not just her
memory but her massive contribution to the development of
international Sevens and a way to ensure that she is forever
present at the Hong Kong Sevens,” said Schats.
leaving the Hong Kong Rugby Union, Beth joined World Rugby where
she was characteristically indefatigable in promoting the game, in
particular the sevens, on a global scale.
Cyclone Winston Relief in Fiji
The Hong Kong Rugby Union has also confirmed details of its
fundraising efforts to aid the relief efforts for the victims of
Cyclone Winston in Fiji.
This year, all proceeds from the
placement of personal messages on the Diamond Vision screen inside
the stadium will be donated in aid of Cyclone Winston relief in
The minimum donation required to place a message on
the Diamond Vision screen over the tournament weekend is HK$200.
All funds raised will be donated to Cyclone relief efforts in the
Pacific Island nation, which is still coping with the
after-effects of the natural disaster with an estimated 60,000
people still homeless across the country.
At a press conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday,
Ben Ryan the Coach of Fiji, spoke of the devastation caused
by Cyclone Winston, how still 5% of the country does not have a roof
over their heads, about death, disease and
viruses, and the lack of food. All that with another cyclone on its way,
right now. He spoke of
how the whole of Fiji had been affected, but also of the squad's
heart, of its determination to succeed, its belief, its
togetherness, and of its resilience.
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Fiji Beat New Zealand to Win 2016 Hong Kong Sevens,
South Africa Beat France to Win Hong Kong Women's Rugby Sevens,
Japan Look Strong After Day 1 of Hong Kong Women's Rugby Sevens,
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens a Dress Rehearsal for Rio 2016,
Sevens 2016 to Honour Beth Coalter and Jonah Lomu,
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HKRU Confirms Teams for 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong
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