40 years of Hong Kong Sevens: Milestones
- First Hong Kong Sevens held on 28th March 1976. Twelve teams hosted at Hong Kong Football Club for a single-day tournament.
- HKRFU Chairman and Sevens co-creator A.D.C. “Tokkie” Smith comments after the opening event that: “It was the most colourful day of sport that I have ever seen. One that put Hong Kong on the international sporting map.”
- Hong Kong win the inaugural Plate competition.
- The tournament grows from 16 to 20 teams and tournament dates are fixed for the final weekend of March each year.
- Attendance outpaces capacity for the first time in event history
- Tournament moves to the former Government Stadium in So Kon Po as its popularity grows…
- David Campese makes his Hong Kong Sevens debut, the first of 12.
- Hong Kong Sevens grows to 24 teams. Bowl competition introduced.
- Tenth anniversary of the Hong Kong Sevens.
- A record crowd o f 23,000 attend. Hong Kong win the Bowl, their second trophy since the tournament’s inception in 1976.
- Australia’s Michael Lynagh makes his Hong Kong debut.
- Eric Rush makes his first of 10 appearances for New Zealand at the Sevens.
- The tandem that more than any other has come to represent the Hong Kong Sevens is complete as Fiji’s Waisale Serevi, the little magician, makes his debut appearance in Hong Kong, winning the Leslie Williams Best and Fairest Award. Rush and Serevi will go on to become the predominant faces of the Sevens for the next decade.
- First Sevens in the new Hong Kong Stadium.
- Stadium construction is unfinished and the HKRFU hosts the Sevens in little more than a concrete shell with punters given cushions because no seats are installed. Stadium capacity is 33,000, with plans to finish construction and expand to 40,000 seats (the size of the present stadium) in 1994.
- Western Samoa win their first ever Cup, becoming the fourth nation to do so after Australia, Fiji and New Zealand.
- Sir Gordon Tietjens debuts as coach of the New Zealand Sevens team and unveils a new weapon in Jonah Lomu. An
unheralded 18-year old on arrival, Lomu leaves Hong Kong a star, particularly after steamrolling Waisale Serevi for two tries in the semi-final and flatfooting Australia legend David Campese for a try in the final. Lomu follows Serevi’s footsteps by winning the Leslie Williams Best and Fairest Award on his debut. Before the year is out, Lomu will
have been selected for the national team as the then youngest ever New Zealand All Black.
- Hong Kong win their third Bowl.
- The 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong Sevens.
- 1993 Rugby World Cup Sevens champions England mark their first official national team debut at the Hong Kong
Sevens. But the tournament is won once again by New Zealand as Tietjens unveils another budding superstar in Christian Cullen.
- Hong Kong win their fourth Bowl.
- Hong Kong hosts its first Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament. Local star Chan Fuk-ping makes history as the first Chinese player to represent Hong Kong at a Rugby World Cup Sevens.
- Hong Kong play for the last time as a Colony VII, falling to the two Cup finalists Fiji and South Africa en route to the Plate final, which they lose to Tonga.
- The first Sevens since the handover is celebrated by the inclusion of a team from the People’s Republic of China.
- World Rugby founds the international circuitbased sevens championship: the World Sevens Series. Hong Kong’s formative role in the development of sevens worldwide is acknowledged, as Hong Kong remains the circuit’s only 24-team event with expanded championship points on offer for the winners.
- England win their first Cup, becoming only the fifth nation to accomplish the milestone after Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa. England would go on to win three of the next four competitions, missing out only on the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2005 silverware in Hong Kong.
- Hong Kong hosts its second Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament, becoming the only international rugby unionto host two sevens world championships.
- Rugby Sevens is granted Olympic status by the International Olympic Committee.
- The Shield competition is introduced, and won by Hong Kong.
- IOC President Jacques Rogge attends the Hong Kong Sevens, six months after the game is granted Olympic status. Rugby Sevens will make its Olympic debut in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
- Hong Kong celebrates 40 years of the Sevens.