In Hong Kong, the last weekend of March is the biggest party of the year - Rugby Sevens. Unlike the regular rugby games, only seven players per team play in the pitch and the duration of a half a match is only seven minutes. Of course, I did not know about the existence of this sport until several days ago. I was lucky to have been invited to be a spectator for it.
When I arrived at the Hong Kong Airport, this poster greeted me at the Express Train station platform.
On Friday, I watched the Women's games. Twelve countries participated, including Japan. I was very happy to report that the Japanese team won both games I watched - against Papua New Guinnea and Singapore.
Japanese women's team (black uniform) playing against Papua New Guinnea.
Japan women's team kicking off against Singapore.
All the women's games were played at the Hong Kong Football Club, but the final game was played as a part of the official games of the program at the Hong Kong Stadium - China vs. Australia. It was a very good match, but at the end, Australia was the Champion.
The moment right before the award ceremony - China in red, Australia in white.
A fun thing about HK7s is that many people come to the stadium dressed up in funny costumes. I was not sure whether rugby or "cosplay" was the main event!
These people were entering the stadium.
This is a snapshot of my hotel room TV on Sunday morning.
The men's games had 24 countries participating - Argentina, Italy, Scotland, Chinese Taipei, USA, Thailand, Canada, China, Wales, South Africa, Korea, Samoa, Russia, New Zealand, France, Fiji, Portugal, Australia, Tonga, England, Japan, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Hong Kong.
I watched all three games of Japan. The first game was on Friday evening against Wales. Japan played very well, but at the end, lost the game 10-12. Then on Saturday, the first game was against England. It really was no competition against them. But the game against the host, Hong Kong - which in the earlier game beat Wales, Japan was like a different team and was victorious with many more tries made compared to HK.
The game against Wales. Red team is Japan.
Japan team (black uniform) playing against England.
Here's the score when the time ran out - actually, England made another try after this, before the whistle blew.
On Sunday, I had to leave for home, so did not go to the stadium. I watched Japan play against Scotland. It really was a close game, but not good enough.
Picture of the moment right before the end of the game - from the screen of the TV in my hotel room. (Japan in red uniform)
The Fiji players - they were very big!
Rugby seven games are very fast moving and fun because each game is short and players are so few in the regular field. Although I could not stay to watch the final games, I thoroughly enjoyed it. (I learned after I came back to Tokyo that the final game was between Samoa and New Zealand. Samoa beat NZ with the score of 24-21.)