The Hong Kong Sevens is the premier tournament on the IRB Sevens World Series and it was on this day in rugby history in 1976 that the tournament was first held. The tournament was monumental in highlighting the 7’s game and attracting commercial sponsorship.
The tournament was the idea of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU), South African entrepreneur A.D.C. ‘Tokkie’ Smith, Duncan McTavish, Trevor J. Bedford OBE and Ian Gow with the goal of recruiting the top rugby sides from around the globe.
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The original idea was for it to be a 15’s tournament but the logistics did not work out which steered the organizers to the 7’s game. It hit another obstacle when the proposal was refused by the Rugby Football Union which led to the inaugural event only including Asian and Pacific teams.
When the first tournament kicked off it included clubs from Indonesia, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Japan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Fijiand was played at the Hong Kong Football Club in Happy Valley with Rothmans' Tobacco and Cathay Pacific the main sponsors.
The inaugural tournament final featured the Cantabrians, representing New Zealand, and the Wallaroos, representing Australia. The New Zealand side won the Cup 24-8. In the Plate final Hong Kong outlasted Tonga 19-16.