Rugby: HSBC/Cathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019 – Photos and write up by Marie Pietersz (Melbourne)
It’s that time of the year again for Rugby Week in Hong Kong when rugby fans all over the world converge on Hong Kong to play (and party) at the HSBC/Cathay Pacific World Series Hong Kong Sevens 2019. Hong Kong had much to live up to its self-anointed claim as Asia’s and put on wow with its high quality facilities.
The 40,000 capacity Hong Kong Stadium was sold out with supporters of 28 teams vying for the coveted title. Australians were there in their thousands, but apart from Hong Kong supporters, Fiji had the largest and loudest contingent. The competition was fast and furious, with quick changeovers and entertainment to boot. Look-alike entertainers performed the music of Queen, Mick Jagger, the Beatles, Amy Winehouse and more. Outrageous and innovative dress–ups provided an entertaining and convivial atmosphere A heavy Police and security presence were there to ensure that the event remained incident free. Food and drink, conveniences and other facilities were in ample supply and public transport provided very easy access to and from the stadium. Australia did not make it into the finals, winning from Portugal, but losing losing to Scotland in the final qualifiers.
Other surprise wins that kept the crowd elated and engaged were USA over South Africa, Argentina over South Africa, Samoa over England and France over New Zealand. Other event organisers could well take a leaf out of the Hong Kong Rugby Union book for yet another highly successful and enjoyable event, albeit they have many years experience of doing it under their belt. The 2019 Hong Kong Rugby Sevens gave rugby fans an entertaining and highly skilled brand of rugby. All teams played to nail-biting finishes, using long and fast runs, ducking and weaving tactics, safe passing down the lines with few knock-ons and converting tries from difficult angles.
Fast and furious play kept fans on the edges of their seats watching the eliminations at the qualifying rounds. A few upset results from the underdog teams and the final scoreboard looked like this: Shield trophy final winner Spain 19 to Wales 14, Bowl trophy winner Scotland 24 to Japan 24, Plate trophy winner Argentine 21 to NZ 14, Bronze medal winner USA 22 to Samoa 10, and the Cup winner Fiji 21 to France 7.
Rugby Week in Hing Kong ended on a very high and successful note, making good Hong Kong slogans which boldly emblazen the message, Nobody does Rugby Sevens better than Hong Kong. With fans hungry for more of the same, it looks like tickets to the rest of the Series games in other world destinations will be filling up fast.
Marie Pietersz, Melbourne, reporting from Hong Kong Stadium in company with former Ceylon rugby scrum-half Randy Pietersz and son Sean.
For travel packages to upcoming Seven Series games in other world destinations, contact Candy Penesis Travel Counselors on 0411 148 717.