As the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens approach, there is no doubt that people are getting ready to watch the games and celebrate with dressing up and crazy drinking. What is it like to be a Rugby Player in Hong Kong: How do they start playing rugby? What do they do for practise? Perhaps they liked the Sevens because it promoted Rugby?

Calvin has been playing rugby for over 6 years and is currently playing on the teams Gai Wu and the City University school team. Hopefully he can give us some answers.



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Could you tell us a bit about how you started playing rugby?

I started playing rugby when I was 18 at St. Louis. You see a good friend of mine join the team and kept pestering me to join with him. I was not too enthusiastic at first, rugby looked like a violent sport where people kept running into each other. Luckily I couldn’t stand his bickering and joined. It’s been 6 years since. I used to play basketball on the school team so it wasn’t such a hard transition.

Which team did you join besides the school rugby team?

My uncle had a membership at the Football Club so I joined their team. They had four different levels, the best being the 1st team. I joined the first few years as a member of their 3rd team. I left after a while as it seemed like a waste to pay such an expensive membership fee since I wasn’t really using other facilities. I joined another team called Gai Wu instead, and also the City University school team.

Describe the game and your usual practise.

The goal of rugby is to get points by getting the rugby ball in the end zone. Main job for us as rugby players is to “Gain Yards” and pass the ball on to other people. You are supposed to wear a mouthguard because it can be quite a physical sport when you tackle your opponent. We practise for around 1.5 hours each time. Both teams I joined are relatively smaller, so we do fitness training and some formation trainings. Bigger teams sometimes play against themselves during training. Our Coach is really good at training and picking roles for us, faster ones go gain yards while the bigger ones go be the “Prop”.

What competitions do you join?

I join the University Sports Federation (USF) with the CityU team, we’re in the elite sector. Usually it’s quite regular and other Universities have teams too, like HKU or PolyU. My other team Gai Wu joins some other domestic cups or leagues.

Do you think Rugby is a popular sport in Hong Kong?

It’s not as common, but it really depends on how you judge popularity. There was one time it was featured on our local TV channel TVB during the world cup. Other than that it doesn’t appear much on television, but television is no longer the single medium where people get entertainment anyways. Some people think it’s dangerous, my mum still nags me about it because she thinks it can be a dangerous sports, but in fact if you wear a mouthguard it’s fine.

Why isn’t Rugby a popular sport with the locals?

The team I play in now, Gai Wu, is an all-local team. It’s not really about race, but it’s just that not a lot of local schools have a rugby team or a place to play rugby while International schools do. They start playing much younger and are great at playing.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself as well?

I was born in Hong Kong, but I went back to Nepal for my childhood. I was there till I was 10 years old, those were happy times. The homes in Nepal were bigger, unlike Hong Kong. Rent was also much more affordable. I lived in Ping Chau for another 14 years after I came to Hong Kong, it was a great place to live. It’s very isolated you see, but everyone knew everyone there. Neighbours were friendly and people were kind to each other as they know your family. Although I’ll admit that traffic was very inconvenient. But it’s much better than living in a sub-divided unit.



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What’s your favourite thing about Hong Kong? It can be a place, or something intangible too.

I love the nature here in Hong Kong. Of course, the outlying islands since I grew up on one of them. I also love cantonese and the culture. The language itself was difficult to learn when I was growing up, but I managed. I fell in love with Canto-pop too! I’m more of a country boy stuck in a big city. But Hong Kong has its many perks. Go to Tai O, Tai Tam, these places are great. Even Aberdeen, it’s a great hub for those who want to go to outlying islands.



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Any tips for those who want to come to Hong Kong for the Sevens?

Rugby Sevens is a great time to party. If you are here to dress up and have a crazy party with everyone else, remember to get tickets for the South Stand. Also it’s best if you can get there earlier to line up or the line gets crazy and you’ll be stuck there for almost two hours! I’ve been there many times and dressed up a few times too.



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When was your first Sevens?

I was in secondary school. Every Friday they let in some secondary schools for free. It was a great experience. Then I started going every year.

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Would you recommend that people go see the Sevens?

At least once in a lifetime, it’s a great experience. The atmosphere is great and you’ll have a blast while watching the games!