Hong Kong is like a myth, we’ve always heard the name, we see our team majestically play annually at Happy Valley and although the location is over 8200 k’s away, it’s a place we know well, even though very few get to experience it first hand. Actually being there is indescribable, but I will try.
Chopsticks & Trains
First you arrive into Hong Kong and are hit by a maze of sheer numbers as people and vehicles whizz past you. You’re out of your comfort zone and feeling tiny. Soon that speed and size of everything turns into normality and you start to witness a busy and hard working city. Shops and markets are bustling and if you like eating with chopsticks (which you should) you’ll be in heaven with wonderful affordable food. Fast forward a day or two and all of a sudden travel is like magic, you can jump on a train and pop up somewhere you need to be in a flash, it’s also safe to walk the streets and if you get a bit lost, you don’t mind because there is so much to see. Hong Kong, a little like Fiji leads you on a crazy journey that in the end is rewardingly perfect.
With excitement comes anxiety and when game-day Friday finally rolls around it’s time to make your way to the stadium for a taste of the famous Hong Kong 7s. People are flowing like a flooding river and even though you don’t know where you’re going, you just know to follow. With the masses comes even more excitement and each step the anticipation of the event builds, with this you can’t wait to see the stadium and you constantly peer past the mass of heads in front of you seeking a glimpse. You’re obsessed with wanting to see it, but that’s not what hits you first, it’s the sound. The stadium has a ravenous roar of fun that hits your heart. A few minutes later you see it, it’s big, it’s beautiful and it really does look like a legend.
As soon as you have locked eyes on the stadium your brain processes a thousand thoughts, “I thought it would be smaller than that. I thought it would be somewhere in the open.” But after digesting all pre-conceived thoughts, you are quickly satisfied that no other view would suit it, it’s perfect.
Inside the stadium you’re looking left, right, up and down trying to get your head around the glory of what a real stadium is all about. I tell you, this is something that will stay with you, even before you see Fiji play, it’s worth the trip.
Fast forward until our team runs out and your Fijian pride is 100% pure in your veins. Every soul from Fiji around you is one of your gang and you know your collective cheering connects us with our team. It’s almost as if we’re doing our bit for the cause and Fiji has a better chance and you genuinely feel it. As the games roll on, Fiji are always greeted with vigor and we are rewarded with their flair that receives a Mexican wave-like audio as an Ohhhhhh wraps itself around the stadium as the masses can’t believe what they just saw happen.
Hong Kong is King
As moments unfold at the event, you start meeting people like us from around the world and the connections are special, rugby is a unique game and although it’s hard to find a nation that is as crazy as us about the game, but we find great souls along the way.
I am lucky that I have had a lot of trips to the Sevens events globally, so many are incredible, but there is only one Hong Kong and it will always be King for us. Fiji teams always come to this event with an intention to play creative, attacking rugby. We are embraced, we are revered and we are saluted on our display. Simply put, Hong Kong brings the best out of us.
There are moments that will stop you and will be cemented in your memories for life. The Hong Kong 7s is beyond your imagination, it’s like visiting Fiji’s extended Island, it will complete you.