It’s time to dust off your best fancy dress and brush up on your rugby knowledge, because the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is finally back for 2022 - and the prospect of being back in the stadium has never seemed so good (so good, so good!). Whether you’re an avid rugby fan or you’re there to indulge in some debaucherous South Stand action, one thing is for certain: after a two-year hiatus, this event is set to be a Sevens for the ages.
But before you head to the stadium, there’s a few things you’ll need to consider. So, to make sure you’re fully prepared for this iconic sporting event, not only have we created a guide to help you navigate the long weekend – but we’re offering Cathay members exclusive dining offers at restaurants around Causeway Bay, too.
Sevens is a fast-paced, high-scoring game. There are just seven players to a side (unlike the usual 15 of a traditional Rugby Union team) and each game lasts just 14 minutes - except for the final, which is 20 minutes. With so few players on the rugby pitch, the game is defined by fast runs and precise kicking, rather than the usual slow pace and continual scrums of the traditional game.
The Hong Kong Sevens in November will be the first event on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series calendar. Unlike previous years, the 2022 event will not feature the women’s and children’s tournaments, but there are a few early favourites for the Rugby Sevens World Men’s Series: Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia - the Series’ defending champions.
Of course, your loudest cheers should be reserved for local favourites: our very own team Hong Kong led by captain Max Woodward. They made it to the Qualifier Final back in 2019 – but who knows how they’ll perform with a stronger than ever home crowd behind them.
Things can get a little crazy when you’re caught up in the atmosphere of the Sevens, so it’s best to bring as little as possible with you. That being said, there are a few essentials you should absolutely make sure are packed in your bag ready to go.
Given Hong Kong’s unpredictable weather (even in November), it’s best to be prepared for every eventuality. Unfortunately, bottles of any kind - be it water, sunscreen, or something a little harder -. So, be sure to hydrate and lather on your SPF before you head to the rugby stadium. Don’t forget to pack sunglasses, a poncho, and at least one pack of tissues (no one likes getting caught out after spending so long in that toilet queue) and a fair bit of cash for drinks and food throughout the day.
It’s also probably a good idea to throw in a spare face mask or two, just in case yours is suddenly flung into the crowd during a rendition of Hey Baby or Sweet Caroline. Most important of all, though, is your HKID: to get you into the stadium and make sure you can purchase your litre of beer for the event of the year.
With a reputation that precedes itself, most will have already heard about the spiritual home of the Hong Kong Sevens: the raucous South Stand. If you want to join the costume-clad crowds for a taste of the infamous atmosphere, you’ll need to arrive as early as 7am on Saturday to secure your spot.
Expect plenty of alcohol, questionable singing, extravagant fancy dress outfits and a few who won’t make it past 1pm. A word of warning: don’t get too attached to your outfit - you’re likely to end up with a beer landing on your head at some point during the day.
Ordinarily, the small-but-mighty North Stand is filled with avid Sevens-goers and players choosing to catch a match or two after their game. This year, however, due to the closed-loop that all international players will be placed in, there may be a few seats going spare. It’s a great option for a lively, supportive atmosphere - and watching the South Stand get messy down the other end.
Known as the family stands, the East and West Stands tend to be the more civilised option, with alcohol prohibited in this covered seating area. Thanks to the full views of the pitch, you’ll also find die-hard rugby fans here, who have been known to arrive at the rugby stadium from around 5:30am in the past to secure their seats.
After a long day of cheering, drinking, and standing around in the heat, it’s time to refuel and make sure you’re ready for the following day. Where to eat? This year, Cathay is running a 7x miles promotion at restaurants around Causeway Bay and Central from 4-6 November, in line with the event.
You can find a full list of participating restaurants here - which includes favourites such as Alto Bar & Grill and Regal Palace, along with great steak houses, hotpot joints, and, of course, a few bars to continue the party.
Cathay members will enjoy a special rate of HKD4 = 5 when dining or drinking at any of the participating restaurants and bars, as will Standard Chartered Cathay Mastercard® holders, who will earn 7 for every HKD4 spent.
Flying in for the event? Or perhaps you just want to stay close by to make sure you can secure your favourite seat in the stand. Either way, we’ve got you covered with our list of the best hotels to stay at in Causeway Bay.
Hero image: HKRU