Started in 1975 at the Hong Kong Club
, after a conversation
between the then Hong Kong RFU
chairman, A.D.C. "Tokkie" Smith, and a tobacco
industry promotions manager, Ian Gow, the Hong Kong Sevens is one of the worlds most famous Rugby Sevens tournaments
Gow proposed that his company sponsored a rugby tournament, which would provide publicity for the firm. Working on the belief that the shorter games would provide a more exciting spectacle (as well as reduciing the airfares, accommodation and administrative costs). Tokkie Smith proposed a Sevens tournament, and applied to RFU HQ, at Twickenham, which was promptly denied. To sidestep this effective ban on the competition, the duo invited club teams, an area over which the RFU didn't have any say, and the first tournament was held in 1976.
In the early 1990s the IRB acknowledged the HK Sevens, and started to promote Sevens on an international scale. the upshot of this is that you now get a mish-mash of teams, both international teams from smaller countries (such as the legendary Sevens teams from Fiji) playing alongside clubs (such as Northampton and Leicester)