Sports Listings: Plan Ahead

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The Independent Online
THE very nature of seven-a-side rugby offers instant appeal and next year two such tournaments, one established and one new, from the carnival feeling of Hong Kong to the passionate atmosphere of Murrayfield, will continue to provide that excitement.

Twenty-four countries, including the home nations, France, Australia and New Zealand, will cause interest in the inaugural Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Edinburgh, from 16 to 18 of April, to be strong, particularly with the flamboyant Fijians meeting the qualified Latvians in the first match. Given that Murrayfield's capacity will be limited to about 36,000 as the old West Stand will be closed to the public, tickets and ticket packages from the official tour operators, Gullivers Sports Travel, are selling quickly.

Individually, tickets are available without deadline from the ticket office of the Scottish Rugby Union by postal application, though there is no guarantee. Flexibility allows tickets to be purchased for one day's play or for two and three days. Ninety per cent of applications received to date by the Union have been for the three-day tickets, which will limit seats for the final day.

Gullivers has a whole range of hotel packages, which includes tickets. Prices start at pounds 55 for one night at a three-star hotel for the first day to four nights at a deluxe hotel for the tournament at pounds 417, and arrangements are flexible as some 39 hotels are available in Edinburgh and Glasgow to suit all budgets. The operator can also supply flights from British and Irish airports and accommodation in London before and after the event.

The Hong Kong Sevens tournament is over the weekend of 27 and 28 March. Though England and France will not be taking part in 1993, the sevens will still retain a fiesta atmosphere, and 19 of the 24 teams competing will go on to Murrayfield. The Fijians, who chase a fourth consecutive title, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, last year's runners-up, are playing.

All the packages offered by tour operators for Hong Kong are based on sharing twin-bedded accommodation and most agents can provide a range of tours that include Bangkok and island resorts in Thailand, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bali.

International Events, of Malvern, for example, offers five nights in Hong Kong for pounds 849 per person, but also has a package that extends the holiday to include six nights in Bali for pounds 1,129. With 10 years' experience, Rugby Travel, of Twickenham, has a basic five-night tour to the sevens for pounds 829 per person, but together with Gullivers, whose trip is pounds 828, can provide breaks further afield. New to Gullivers is a 16-day trip to Hong Kong and Ko Samui, an island off Thailand, at pounds 1,435.

Many of the operators stay at the Excelsior Hotel in Causeway Bay, headquarters for the tournament, like Kuoni Travel, of London, whose six-night stay is pounds 810. Tickets for the tournament are extra to tour prices, costing HKdollars 320 (approximately pounds 30) inclusive of both days.

RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS, Murrayfield, 16-18 April, 1993.

Ticket Officer, Scottish Rugby Union, 7-9 Roseburn Street, Edinburgh EH12 5PJ (Tel: 031-337 9551). Ticket prices: Three-day: pounds 44 Upper Stands, pounds 36 Lower Stands. Two-day (16 and 17 April): pounds 22, pounds 18. Two-day (17 and 18 April): pounds 34, pounds 28. One day (16 or 17 April): pounds 12, pounds 10. (18 April): pounds 25, pounds 21.

Gullivers Sports Travel, Fiddington Manor, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire GL20 7BJ (Tel: 0684-293175).

Information Centre, 3 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2QP (Tel: 031-557 1700).


Football Club, Sports Road, Happy Valley (Tel: 010 852 5778828, 5762808 or 5772320).

Rugby Travel, 9 York Street, Twickenham TW1 3JZ (Tel: 081-892 0011).

Sport Abroad Ltd, The Travel Centre, Will Hix House, West Horsley, Surrey KT24 6DZ (Tel: 0483-225000).

International Events, Rugby House, Upper Chase Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 2BU (Tel: 0684-576787).

Kuoni Travel Limited, Special Tours Department, 33 Maddox Street, London W1R 9LD (Tel: 071-499 8636).

Thornton's Travel Service, 48-54 Baldwin Street, Bristol BS1 1QP (Tel: 0272-293211).

Mike Burton Sports Management, Bastion House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JJ (Tel: 0452-419666).

Hong Kong Tourist Association, 125 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5EA (Tel: 071-930 4775).

Hong Kong Rugby Union, Room 1401, 14th floor, Block A, Sea View Estate, 2 Watson Road, North Point (Tel: 010 852 5660719).