Hong Kong Sevens: When rugby goes crowd surfing

    (CNN)Toweling his brow in a back room, away from the action on the final day of the Hong Kong Sevens, Bryan Habana reflects on his first time at the world-famous event.

    "What a virgin experience it's been!" says the former Springboks hero.
    Habana has spent his final day here racing kids, getting tackled and throwing a ball around as part of sevens series sponsor HSBC's Try Rugby initiative.
      Alongside the Hong Kong Rugby Union, the scheme is designed to get the game on more school curriculums here and encourage more children to play the game.
      Over the last few years, Try Rugby has introduced some 20- to 30,000 kids to the sport, according to Habana.
      However, it is the ex-wing who has felt like a wide-eyed child for most of the weekend.
      He goes on: "Coming into the city on Wednesday night there's an immediate energy you feel, driving in from the airport.
      "You watch this tournament on TV, growing up, and you saw the greats -- the Jonah Lomus, the Christian Cullens, the Eric Rushes and Waisale Serevis -- who became icons of this tournament.
      "Hong Kong is the home of (modern) sevens rugby and to see the sport grow since the tournament has been on the go, to experience the atmosphere, that South Stand madness, has been special.
      "To be with HSBC and guys like George Gregan and Brian O'Driscoll, who are legends in their own right, they also have some interesting stories to tell about Hong Kong!
      "I haven't quite surpassed Brian's crowd surfing on his first tour here, but it's been epic. The vibe, the energy and the passion of the crowd is something remarkable."
      The Bok great has been impressed by the athletes involved in the sporting spectacle -- and it is an historic leg of the Sevens World Series, with Fiji men winning here for the fifth year in a row and Brazil women displaying true legacy by winning their qualifier event to be on the full-time circuit next season, almost four years after hosting the Olympic Games in Rio.
      Ireland men also win their qualifier, an emotional moment for a national side that spent years in the sevens wilderness.
      The action is often jaw-slackeningly frenetic. Habana never had the chance to play here, but there is a hint of jealousy.
      Yet as the South African mentions the South Stand there, you may get a flash of recognition -- isn't that the crazy, packed-out stand, with everyone in costume? Is it noisy?
      You don't know the half of it.

      'Bucket list'

      As he is asked whether he's seen anything like this before, a smile darts across athletics icon Michael Johnson's face.
      "I follow the sevens and I've been to Dubai before, but no, this is my first time at the Hong Kong Sevens."
      The four-time Olympic gold medalist is in Hong Kong to work with the event's official charity partner, Laureus, to help with their Sport for Good programs.
      But the charity's box shares a corner with the South Stand. What Johnson does not mention is that just seconds before, there was pandemonium in there.
      Set to the soundtrack of Bohemian Rhapsody, cup after cup of (presumably) beer is sent into the skies -- voices rise even higher. "Nothing really matters" seems like an all-too-fitting lyric for the carefree crowd.