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Monday, August 31, 2020

Future Of HK 7's, Kanaloa Hawaii MLR Bid

This #RugbyPickEm Voicemail show isn't too serious (or is it?) as the lads discuss the future of Hong Kong 7's given the new political situation. The Guru called into the show and inquired about how the rugby community can stand in unity with the free people of Hong Kong.

The South Stands may never be the same ... 

Given the nature and history of H.K. 7's, it is sad to see the island begin to get swallowed up by the Chinese Communist Party through the recent security law. Expats and Westerners flock to the city for the full week of electric 7's with the final 3 days played in a simple, yet elegant, stadium carved right into the mountain. If the mainland Chinese practices are any indication, it's highly unlikely that the infamous South Stands will ever be as intoxicating as it has been in the past. That being said, the global pandemic has created issues for the entire HSBC 7's circuit (not just HK) given its requirement for open, unhindered international travel. If fans can't travel, it will be hard to hold profitable events. If the athletes and coaches can't travel, it just won't happen at all. England and Wales have already cut their 7's programs, and more are expected.

Rugby PickEm loves 7's and is hopeful that the sport will work its way back to a full schedule. Tournament organizers and World Rugby have a tough track ahead of them, but a good start would be a successful, Japan hosted, 2021 Summer Olympics (where 7's is now an event, reinstated after being discontinued in 1924).

The MLR loses the Colorado Raptors, but may take on the budding Polynesian franchise...

The crew also discussed Kanaloa Rugby's bid to become the newest MLR franchise to join the league. The MLR will be entering its 4th year, and some people tend to think expanding all the way out to Hawaii is a bit too much too early. Given that the group is backed by 6 former ABs and will be the first professional rugby team in Polynesia, owned by Polynesians, makes the bid unique.

The group has promised to cover the flight costs from California to Hawaii for visiting teams, and will secure housing for all of their players. Let's hope the MLR accepts their bid so another part of the rugby world is opened up to young rugby fans. It would also make for a good excuse to stop by the beautiful 50th state.


  1. Where should 7's go from here? It's a great sport in person (as you mentioned), but to me, the TV experience has been diluted, with the same teams playing each other week in and week out.

  2. Ben,

    With nations dropping their teams left and right, you'll probably see less of the traditional match-ups you are used to seeing.

    It will always be an "event based" game. I hope some genuinely new ideas are able to pop up to put on an event or two in 2021.

    ***Update*** Sydney and Hamilton 7's have been cancelled for early 2021... (insert sad emoji here)