Dos and Don’ts of the Sevens

Each spring, the Hong Kong Sevens ushers in a frenetic weekend of partying and some of the best rugby you'll ever see. Here's what you need to know to survive Hong Kong's biggest sporting event

Explore our complete guide to the Hong Kong Sevens

Do: Learn the game

Sevens is a game built on speed. There are seven players to a side, and each half lasts just seven minutes (but 10 minutes for the final). With fewer players and less time on the clock, the game never gets bogged down in interminable scrums. It’s dominated by running, kicking and a whole load of flair.

Don’t: Miss the South Stand

The raucous South Stand is the spiritual home of the Sevens. It’s undeniable fun, full of colourful costumes… and copious alcohol. Go early to secure yourself a place, as it fills up fast.

Do: Leave the Louboutins behind

The South Stand is brilliant, but it gets increasingly exuberant as the weekend wears on – and that translates to a lot of beer getting accidentally sloshed around. Leave the pricey watch and the suede kicks in the suitcase.

Don’t: Go unprepared for the weather

Hong Kong’s unpredictable April weather can be sweltering or waterlogged, often in the space of half an hour. Pack the essentials: tissues, sunscreen and a raincoat that can be easily folded away.

Do: Catch the women’s matches

The matches for the Women’s Hong Kong Sevens start on Thursday (off-site) and finish on Friday in Hong Kong Stadium. Show up early to see that the women play just as hard as the men.

Don’t: Go too hard

Going early is all well and good, but remember that this is a three-day tournament. With beer available by the litre, keep an eye on your fluid intake or you’ll be slumped in the South Stand by 2pm.

Do: Learn the words to Hey Baby

No moment better sums up the carnival atmosphere of the Hong Kong Sevens than the stadium singing Hey Baby en masse. It is either played by the DJ or spontaneously emerges from the South Stand throughout the tournament. Don’t know the words? You’ll pick them up fast.

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Do: Know your teams

Fiji goes into the tournament the firm favourites: the island nation has won in Hong Kong six of the past seven years. But keep an eye out for New Zealand’s All Blacks, a team whose historically flair-filled play has endeared them to the fans. Also watch out for South Africa: the Blitzboks have won the World Series the past two years on the trot.

And, of course, spare some time to cheer on hometown heroes Hong Kong. They last won the Shield trophy back in 2010, but they’re fresh off a gold medal win at the 2018 Asian Games. The tournament’s loudest cheers are reserved for the local squad.

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