I sat opposite Ossian Shine at the Media table at the 2011 Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens Awards Dinner on Sunday evening.
“Osh” news-edits and directs Reuters sports coverage globally and ensure it meets the agency’s high standards. Based in Singapore, he took up the post of Asian Sports Editor in 2006. Prior to this Ossian worked on the London sports desk and held the position of tennis correspondent and Olympics correspondent.
He filed the following story for Reuters today after another successful Hong Kong Sevens and in the interest of our readers, we reproduce it here.
(Source: Times Live)
Anybody still sceptical of rugby sevens’ inclusion as an Olympic sport need look no further than Hong Kong for all the answers they need, leading figures in the sport told Reuters after a pulsating three-day tournament.
“This is what it is all about,” former All Black John Kirwan, now Japan’s national rugby coach, said of the Rugby Sevens weekend when the line between sport and partying was blurred.
Kirwan’s sentiments were echoed by New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens. “What an incredible atmosphere,” he smiled. “This just showcases all the excitement of the sport.”
The 40 000-seater stadium on Hong Kong Island was packed for the three days of action after which champions New Zealand moved five points clear of runners-up England in the IRB Sevens Circuit standings.
The series moves to Adelaide next week before finishing in England and Scotland in May.
“(Sevens) is what is going to open rugby up to the world,” former All Black Jonah Lomu said.
“It is going to go right through Asia, because it is a more level playing field than playing 15-a-side.
“Trying to explain to somebody the appeal of the sport, I would say come to the Sevens. You have the fastest players on the planet and the strongest players on the planet.”
Sevens rugby enters the Olympics in Rio in 2016.
Jonah Lomu and John Kirwan were in Hong Kong conducting a coaching clinic during Rugby Week.