Game on Mother Rucker! Your Ultimate Survival Guide to HK Rugby 7s
It’s that time of the year again: The Hong Kong Sevens are upon us. It’s that special time of year where grown men wear tutus, and girls rock their fanciest (messiest?) costumes – all the while pretending to watch rugby. Whether you’re in Hong Kong and like to party (duh?) — or just happen to be a diehard rugby fan — you know the Sevens presents the kind of debauchery you can’t afford to miss! So grab your costume and hold on tight: we have all the info you need to survive the 2017 Hong Kong Sevens! So if your question is…
I’m in town for the Sevens! Where should I stay?
Lucky for you, Ovolo Southside is offering a Ruck N’ Roll Rugby Sevens package this year. Available from 1-15 April 2017, it includes all kinds of awesome momentos. Here’s what you get:
Here’s what you get:
- A momento Ovolo Rugby Seven tee per adult
- A personalised Growler from Young Masters Brewery per adult
- An MTR Tourist Day Pass per adult
- One complimentary drink voucher at Above per adult
- All signature freebies (that’s all the goodies you get when checking in at Ovolo Southside)
Where can I buy tickets to the Sevens?
The ticketing system for the Hong Kong Sevens is a bit of a nightmare. For Hong Kong residents, there are only several thousand tickets available via the form of a public ballot, which is organised by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union.
If you missed the boat on this one, there are still other ways you can get your tickets.
Fly Cathay Pacific: The Hong Kong airline is a major sponsor of the Sevens and offers packages for visitors abroad (sometimes, it’s actually easier for those overseas to buy tickets). Check the Hong Kong Sevens website for more info.
Look online: The HKRFU’s official ticket reselling channel is on viagogo.com. There are also Facebook groups dedicated to Sevens tickets.
Make a sporty friend: Private sports clubs in Hong Kong are allocated with a certain amount of tickets. If you have a few friends here, ask around. Someone might just have a spare ticket or two they’re willing to sell.
Go baller: The Sevens have corporate hospitality packages, which include free-flow food and drink. It’ll cost you.
Support charitable efforts: Local charity Mission Possible, which raises awareness of poverty issues and encourages philanthropy, hosts a hospitality box at the Sevens every year. Hit two birds with one stone with tickets to the box, which allows you to access the games while supporting the charity’s cause.
Last ditch attempt: You will find plenty of scalpers around the Causeway Bay area en route to the stadium. Be prepared to pay three or four times more than face value, and be aware that there’s a risk these tickets could be fake.
What’s proper attire?
The Sevens are all about dressing up in the most outrageous costumes: from the ever-so-popular pirates and sailors and cute group efforts like minions, to those in the political spotlight (2016 saw plenty of Donald Trumps and Hillary Clintons). Want to really stand out? Think outside of the box. Our favourites were the folks who dressed up as MTR stations and others as walking Tinder profiles.
Here’s where you can shop for yours. And who knows, you might just go viral…
Pottinger Street: A vertical shopping street in Central with every costume under the sun. Prices tend to go up near big days like Sevens or Halloween, though.
Wan Chai Market: Cheap ‘n’ chic costume, jewellery and accessories.
Ladies’ Market: High on every visitor’s list, Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok offers classic costumes and materials to make your own.
What should I bring?
- Baby wipes and hand sanitiser: Essential if you want to remain at least halfway hygienic
- Water bottle: Bring an empty in, and fill up using the drinking taps available throughout the venue.
- Closed-toed shoes: Trust us, you don’t want to be wearing shoes that expose your feet to anything on the grounds.
- Waterproofs: April in Hong Kong means rain. Grab one of those plastic raincoats from 7-Eleven on your way in — you’d be thankful you brought one.
- Sunscreen: If you’re not quite used to Hong Kong’s unpredictable springtime weather, you’ll more likely than not be caught off-guard by strong the rays can be when the sun comes out. Remember to slap on the SPF.
- Painkillers: You’ll need these.
- Cash: There are no cash points inside the stadium.
What’s each day like?
Friday: This is the day when the Sevens kick off, and most revellers will be ducking off work early to get there. The atmosphere is a relaxed one — no one wants to peak too early in what will be an intensive weekend of partying. If you’re sensible, that is.
Saturday: The most popular day of the Sevens weekend. The South Stand is traditionally the most raucous, high-energy part of the stadium. If you want to go in — and every costume-donning, attention-seeking reveller will plan to — you need to get to the stadium by 7.30am, latest, to beat the lines. The South Stand operates a one-in, one-out policy so once it’s full, you could find yourself waiting until mid-afternoon for a coveted spot inside. Why is it so popular, you ask? The South Stand is the only viewing platform where you are allowed to drink. If you’re not into this kind of scene, try the West and East Stands, where it’s a much more civilised affair. The North tends to be taken up by rugby-affiliated folks.
Sunday: This is where it all reaches a crescendo. If you’re able to drag your hungover body to the stadium, you’ll find some very dedicated crowds who are actually there to watch the rugby. At the end of the day, there’ll be marches and live performances.
Where on earth is HK Stadium?!
Ok, were you one of those people that thought Rugby Sevens takes place at Happy Valley Racecourse? There’s a reason it’s called a racecourse you know ;-). HK Stadium, where all the rugby action takes place, is actually further down from the racecourse. Finding your general direction to the stadium is actually not too hard once you spot the main roadway, Caroline Hill Road. There you’ll see the South China Athletic Association (SCAA). Once you’re there, just follow the path of (drunk) party revellers and strange men dressed as like 90s go-go dancers. Yes, really!
Oh, and expect roadblocks around the Hong Kong Stadium throughout the weekend. Instead of cabbing and being stuck in traffic, your best bet is to either walk from Causeway Bay MTR station or get out near the stadium and walk.
Where’s the after-parties?
You name it…
- Lan Kwai Fong: A major nightlife district in Hong Kong, you’ll find revellers in and around the LKF main drag post-Sevens.
- Wan Chai: This is where sports bars, dive bars and “girly bars” all stand next to each other. Take your pick and keep the party going. Just don’t end up face-down in a gutter.
- Sevens Village: Just a stone’s throw away, not only does the Sevens Village offer an alternative viewing spot (and perhaps much-needed refuge from the revelry inside the stadium), it has entertainment aplenty after the last whistle blows.
- Inn Side Out: Around the corner from the stadium at the SCAA is Inn Side Out, a longstanding watering hole popular for its eight-page-long beer menu and American-style bites. This is the kind of place where you’re encouraged to throw peanut shells on the ground and cheer loudly at multiple screens showing game footage, so be sure to take full advantage of that.
I (still) can’t get tickets!
No tickets? No problem. Or can’t justify dropping nearly 2-grand on them? Here’s where you can catch the action, off the pitch.
- The Globe: Longtime SoHo pub The Globe has big screens, plus one of the most extensive beer selections in Hong Kong. Get settled in.
- Dickens Bar: Famous for its beers and curry buffets, Dickens Bar screens major sports games — and the Sevens is no different.
Andrea Lo is a freelance journalist and translator based in Hong Kong. After cutting her teeth in the industry as a staff writer at a lifestyle magazine, she embraced the freelance life in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. She spends her time exploring the best of Hong Kong’s dining and nightlife scene, trialling new fitness trends, and travelling to exotic locales – all in the name of “research”.