The world’s premier Rugby Sevens Tournament was born over pre-luncheon drinks at the venerable old Hong Kong Club on a misty spring day in 1975. The Chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, an amiable South African entrepreneur, A.D.C. “Tokkie” Smith, was talking with tobacco company executive Ian Gow. It was Gow’s idea, as Promotions Manager for his firm, to sponsor a Rugby Tournament with top teams from throughout the world competing.
On March 28, 1976, less than a year after this meeting, clubs from Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Japan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Fiji participated in the first Hong Kong Sevens Tournament. It was an astonishing accomplishment; in less than 12 months, a team of talented, dedicated volunteers had created a sporting event that was to tackle the imagination of the rugby world.
As the Tournament grew throughout the 70’s and 80’s in both supporter popularity and the number of participating teams, which had now progressed from club sides to representative teams, the Tournament moved from its original home in the Hong Kong Football Club to the Hong Kong Government Stadium. By the beginning of the 90’s, with demand for tickets having outstretched the capacity of the Stadium for over five years, it was time for a larger facility. The Stadium that had been the Tournament’s home for 12 years was re-built in 1994 and a 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium is now its current venue.
In 1993 the first Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament was held in Scotland, where the game of Sevens had originated. Hong Kong was awarded the prestige of hosting the 2nd Rugby World Cup Sevens in 1997, which was a huge success in a memorable year for Hong Kong as it was reunified with China and became a Special Administrative Region. Hong Kong was also award the 2005 RWC Sevens.
During the years after the Rugby World Cup Sevens it was apparent how important the game of Sevens rugby had become in the development of some of the games great players. Players such as Jonah Lomu, Christian Cullen, and George Gregan to name a few first demonstrated their speed and agility in the Hong Kong Sevens. The IRB, recognising the value of the game of Sevens, launched its inaugural World Sevens Series in 2000 – the 25th year of Sevens Rugby in Hong Kong – to enable more players to benefit from Sevens competitions. A core of 12 of the world’s top teams now participate in tournaments in the UAE, South Africa, USA, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Sevens Tournament itself has a wonderful history. It is now considered the “Jewel in the”Crown” of the IRB Sevens World Series and continues to grow in popularity with players and spectators from around the world. Quite simply Hong Kong is synonymous with Sevens. 2011 will mark the 36th tournament in Hong Kong – a remarkable achievement when one considers the relatively modest beginnings in 1978. The Hong Kong Sevens has played an integral role in bringing recognition of the game to the rest of the world. The 2008 IOC decision to include Rugby Sevens as an Olympic sport starting from 2016 will ensure that this fine tradition will continue for many years to come.
Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens 2011
|Date||:||March 25 – 27, 2011 (Friday to Sunday)|
|Venue||:||Hong Kong Stadium|
|Organiser||:||Hong Kong Rugby Football Union|
|Co-Title Sponsors||:||Cathay Pacific Airways and Credit Suisse|
|Total Prize Money||:||US$150,000|
|Prize Money Breakdown||:||
|Official Draw||:||February 17, 2011|
|Country With Most Wins||:||Fiji – 12New Zealand – 9 Australia – 5 England – 4|
|Match Duration||:||Seven minutes each way with two-minute intervals for pool, knock-out matches. Bowl and Plate finals and sevens minutes each way with two-minute intervals; 10 minutes each way for the Cup final.|
Ticket Info: http://www.hksevens.com/General-Info-Tickets.htm
Source: Hong Kong Sevens