THE fame of the Hong Kong sevens tournament has been attributed to the influence of Fijian rugby players who have graced Happy Valley for the past 38 years.
That's the view of tournament chief organiser Sean Moore who has been associated with the Hong Kong tournament for the past 16 years.
Former Fiji reps such as the maestro Waisale Serevi, galloping winger Tomasi Cama, the twinkle-feet William Ryder, the fast and furious Marika Vunibaka, Alifereti Dere, the long arms of Timoci Wainiqolo and many others, have graced the Hong Kong Stadium with their individual brilliance that has created a special atmosphere in Hong Kong.
Moore said Hong Kong was happy to host the many talented Fijian players since the inception of the tournament in 1975.
While players like Brent Russel, David Campese, Jonah Lomu, Eric Rush and Christian Cullen have made their personal contributions, the Fijians have imparted a unique spirit at the mecca of 7s.
"I've seen that Fiji rugby has been so important towards the development of the Hong Kong sevens," Moore said.
"We have seen a lot of talents from Fiji like Waisale (Serevi), William Ryder, Marika Vunibaka, Tomasi (Cama), they have been a testament of this tournament.
"I just want to say that for me, the Hong Kong Rugby Union and tournament and the people that live in Hong Kong, we feel like we owe a debt of gratitude to Fiji throughout the years. I think they have helped us build this unique spirit of what the Hong Kong 7s is today."
Moore rated the Fijian teams of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 1997 and 2005 as the best.
"I have come across a lot of Fijian teams but I believe the 1997 and 2005 teams were the best.
"Especially in 2005 when they were out of the limelight but they fielded the best players and all of a sudden they won the tournament.
"Fiji has been constant here and I think the influence of Fijian rugby has really promoted the Hong Kong 7s," he said.
Moore's favourite player is Vione flyer Vunibaka.
He is eager to see who will be the next star for Fiji this weekend.
Fiji has tasted victory 12 times in Hong Kong and New Zealand 10.
Australia, England and Samoa are the only other teams that have won at So Kon Po.