The History of Hong Kong Sevens
The Hong Kong Sevens is one of the biggest seven a side Rugby tournaments in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series due to its party atmosphere. It was founded in 1976 with clubs from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Fiji, Japan, Tonga, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Indonesia taking part. However, the tournament has slowly evolved into being inclusive to international sides.
The early years of the tournament were held in the HK Football Club Stadium, and the stadium has a capacity of 2,750. However, the increasing popularity of the tournament saw the need for more seats and the tournament was therefore moved to the Hong Kong Stadium. The Hong Kong Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium with a capacity of 40,000 which holds football and rugby events all year round.
Fiji became the first international side to win the competition in 1977 which begun an early dominance winning 2 of the next three tournaments. Fiji have been the most successful side in the history of the tournament with 19 titles to their name along with 28 final appearances. This is an incredible feat for the country as historically bigger rugby nations such as Wales, France and South Africa have never won the tournament.
Each of the 16 teams are separated into four different pools with the top 2 teams in each pool going into the Cup quarterfinals. The losers of the Cup quarterfinal matches go into the 5th place playoff tournament whereas the winners go on to compete for the cup. The other two teams in each pool will go into the Challenge trophy quarterfinals which the losers of each match will compete in the 13th place playoff tournament.
Although the format of the competition is complicated, it provides many hours of entertainment for the fans and allows each team to continue competing in the tournament regardless of their pool stage placing. The plate, bowl and shield competitions have also allowed for smaller nations to win a trophy such as Spain, Kenya and Hong Kong which can be influential for rugby developing and growing in interest in these countries.