HSBC: Sevens up!
The sun shone on the Hong Kong Sevens this year. Brilliant blue skies, plus a gentle breeze, created the perfect backdrop to a fantastic tournament of Sevens rugby. It was capped by a thrilling final, in which Fiji beat New Zealand by 35 points to 28 – described by one legend of the game to Euromoney as "the best 20 minutes of rugby in any format that I have ever seen". Of course, the Sevens was not all about the rugby. Banks were out in force in their myriad boxes. Many of their occupants were on fine form. One Asian bank chief memorably described a member of the victorious England women’s rugby team as "having a head like a Rottweiler’s arse".
Another senior banker took issue with the attire of a colleague: "It’s OK if you wear a silly hat given to you in the box, but to bring your own..." he tailed off, enough said.
Fancy dress was, as always, the theme in the South Stand. Few bankers dared to tread into the beer-soaked terrace, but one who did reported on a stand-out costume. "There’s a bloke in there dressed in a suit and a grey wig with a name badge on that reads ‘Dominique Strauss-Kahn’. Ninety percent of people in there have no idea what he is doing: the 10% who do keep showering him with beer."
Among the fancy-dressed hoardes, we spotted a group kitted out as Kermit the Frog – inevitably christened the ‘Goldman Sachs client box’.
And it was a triumph for returning sponsor HSBC, which provided the classiest touch of the weekend – aside from some of the outrageous offloads and mis-moves out on the pitch – by inviting former chairman Willie Purves, one of the driving forces behind the long success of the Hong Kong Sevens, to present the trophy to the winners.