Thirty years ago the Rugby 7’s started in Hong Kong, and became a huge success there almost overnight. In its first edition already teams from 7 countries competeted against each other, and this year’s event had 24 participating countries and 40,000 spectators. The event is so big now that hotels in Hong Kong raise their prices during the Sevens, and it’s very difficult to find a room during the weekend of the event.
Last year, Shanghai also started organizing its own 7’s. And this weekend the second edition of what is officially called the Guiness Shanghai International Rugby 7’s will take place. The event is much smaller than the HK version, with 15 teams competing; most of them from China, including one from the People’s Liberation Army. The tournament will take place this Saturday from 9 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday from 10 AM – 4 PM, at the Shanghai Rugby Football Club on Biyun Road in Jinqiao.
In order to attract more people, the entrance is free for Chinese but not for foreigners (they pay RMB 30). A bit strange in my opinion: although RMB 30 is probably less than a beer at the event, principally I feel it’s not right to use different pricing for foreigners and Chinese. Try to do it the other way around, free for foreigners and an entrance fee for Chinese. The whole of China would fall over you (the Chinabounder effect I would call it now 🙂
But segregated prices aside, I hope the event will be a big success and that it will grow into HK-like proportions in the following years. For this weekend 1500 supporters are expected to drink beer and cheer for the teams, if they manage to attract that amount of people I think they are on the right track. Enjoy the games!