Tom Kingston doesn’t remember much about Hong Kong but he does remember the footy ground.
Kingston, who is in Hong Kong as part of the Aussie Sevens squad this week, grew up in Hong Kong and it was where he first started playing Rugby.
A hamstring injury forced him to be a late withdrawal from this weekend’s tournament but he still has fond memories in Hong Kong.
“I first played at this park up the road from where we were living here called Stanley Fort,” he said.
“Don’t remember starting out but I do remember getting winded and feeling like I was going to die and it was the end of the world,” he laughed.
The 24-year-old was probably the first of this current Sevens squad to feel out the Hong Kong pitch, as halftime entertainment at the tournament 20 years ago.
“With all the Sevens tournament, they get the little kids out playing before the game and I remember doing that before the Hong Kong Sevens one year.
“I have some select memories of having a run around and meeting (Waisale) Serevi.
“You see them (players) running around and you sort of think it’s a completely different world but you’re running around on the same pitch.
“Getting to run around on the field was pretty amazing.”
Hong Kong is the oldest tournament on the World Sevens circuit and Kingston said the higher level of buzz made the Cup even more coveted.
“It’s no one’s real home tournament because it is almost that quintessential Sevens tournament - the one they all talk about, all know about.
“Talking to the guys who have been to five, six, seven of these now and they say it’s literally just packed the whole time festival atmosphere and everyone gets up for it, where some of the other ones they ebb and flow a bit with crowds.”
Kingston said the Aussie Sevens recent string of strong results proved they were not just a flash in the pan side on the circuit.
“At the moment it’s not a fluke when we’re making Cup semis and finals, it’s almost the expectation.
“The level of expectation is high - when we have a down training session, everyone’s a bit down because we hold ourselves to a higher standard.
“Having come second, second and third (in the last three tournaments), it’s important we keep up those standards and those expectations.
“We don’t want to keep coming second and third, it’s important to start winning.”