The Hong Kong Sevens’ infamous South Stand


When April approaches in Hong Kong, it means that the greatest sporting event in the city – and a convenient excuse to party – is in town: the Hong Kong Sevens.  Part of the annual HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the Hong Kong event continues to maintain its status as the most raucous of the 10 cities hosting tournaments.  That reputation is thanks to an area that comprises a portion of the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium, but one that ended up cementing that venue’s legendary costume-ridden atmosphere at the Sevens.

The Hong Kong Sevens, according to historical accounts, is what made Hong Kong Stadium and eventually the South Stand.  The original host venue – the Hong Kong Football Club not far from the stadium – quickly became too small to host a popular rugby event with an increasingly international roster backed by corporate sponsors.  How the South Stand gained its status is less clear, but it pretty much established its reputation from the get-go when Hong Kong Stadium came to be in 1993.

Play at the Hong Kong Sevens takes place over three days, but it’s that middle Saturday that South Stand revelers target.  For one, it’s a guaranteed day off work (for most).  Second of all, it’s when the main musical act performs; usually this selection is a cheeky throwback to the past (in 2015, The Village People, in 2016, David Hasselhoff and The Proclaimers).  The performance comprises part of an extended break in play that also includes a pitch-side parade, otherwise known as rounding up as many players as possible to walk around the stadium to gape at – and even take pictures with – costumed characters in the South Stand.

Video: Hong Kong Sevens 2016 pitch-side parade…and the South Stand
video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Ah, the costumes.  A packed South Stand full of age 18-and-over “rugby fans” drunkenly singing every year to Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” wouldn’t nearly be as festive without the fashion.  Some costumes reportedly undergo a year of planning.  Others appear to be a mashup of discounted goods from a post-Halloween sale.



However, the party doesn’t last the entire weekend.  Empty seats can actually be spotted in the South Stand on Sunday, which means that the attention can return to the pitch where the champions will be anointed.  Presumably because those who sat in them the day before weren’t sober enough to return.  Or maybe they’re already planning their costumes for next year…

Photos: Hong Kong Sevens 2016 – The South Stand
all photos by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine


Video: South Stand costumes and crowd – Hong Kong Sevens 2016
video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine


Video: The Proclaimers perform, the South Stand reacts – Hong Kong Sevens 2016
video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine