24 October 2016
It's going to be hell for leather this weekend as the Hong Kong Sevens hits town. That means we can all lose our heads again -- in a fun way. Photos:
It's going to be hell for leather this weekend as the Hong Kong Sevens hits town. That means we can all lose our heads again -- in a fun way. Photos:

Thanks to rugby, we can forget our troubles for three days

Forget all those political dramas — the luggagegate between CY and CX, the two-for-one housing swap between a government official and a rich Macau family and all the fuss about Ten Years (heck, we don’t even know where to watch it).

Let’s lose our minds (again) over the Hong Kong Sevens, the one and only show in town for the next three days.

We’ve already missed its usual kickoff. The Sevens comes late this year because of an early Easter but we are lucky to have a preview of the game as an Olympic sport in Rio de Janeiro this fall.

In case you missed the news, rugby returns to the Olympics this year after a 92-year absence.

All rugby Olympic teams are seeing action this weekend at the Hong Kong Stadium.

But Olympics or not, the Sevens, backed by Hong Kong icons Cathay Pacific Airways and HSBC, has been a huge international spectacle that draws thousands of fans from around the globe.

We mean truly international – many foreigners, a few Chinese – that somehow allows Hong Kong to relive its colonial past for one weekend in a year.

You can tell it’s the most anticipated event in town from your Facebook friends and WhatsApp contacts who have been badgering you for tickets.

Fiji and the New Zealand All Blacks are expected to battle for the crown but the excitement will not be limited to the pitch or the stands.

This is one time when Hong Kong people tolerate bad behavior by tourists because we can all appreciate a happy hangover.

The Sevens comes at a time when our spirits could use a shot and local retailers and hoteliers can regain some lost ground from thinning visitor traffic from the mainland.

We are also in danger of losing our special status as Nylonkong (New York, London, Hong Kong), in favor of Nylonpor after Singapore toppled us as the world’s No. 3 financial center in the Global Financial Center Index this week.

It’s nice to know that despite a chaotic administration and a lackluster stock market (the Hang Seng Index has tumbled 5,000 points), Hong Kong still has the same rugby tournament.

Started in 1976, the Hong Kong Sevens has quietly grown from 12 teams to 28. Attendance during the three-day weekend easily tops 120,000-strong.

It has also become one of a few ball games wherein Hong Kong stands a chance to surprise its home fans.

Just as our national football team conquered the Chinese team 30 years ago, the national rugby team won the 2012 Asian Sevens Series.

To quote Hong Kong coach Gareth Baber about our chances this year, we say “any team can win a tournament from the semi-final stage. It all comes down to who wants it the most. That’s why we aim for a free flowing, exciting brand of rugby”.

It’s going to be hell for leather but that is what we want.

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EJ Insight writer

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