With its renowned hospitality and breathtaking scenery, Canada has been a popular rugby touring destination for many a decade.
And it has also been home to some of rugby’s big occasions, notably the Rugby World Cup in 2006 when the best teams in women’s rugby came together in Edmonton and the men’s Churchill Cup.
In recent years, the choice of BC Place in Vancouver and Langford as one of the stopovers on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in both the men’s and women’s events has only cemented its reputation as a must-visit country for all discerning rugby fans.
Vancouver joined the line-up as a World Series host city in 2016, and with its city centre location and passionate fans – not to mention the thrills and spills on the field of play, the tournament hit the ground running.
Over 70,000 spectators attended the first tournament, making it the most highly attended rugby event hosted on Canadian soil, and that figure has also been passed in each of the four subsequent years.
Current HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series leaders South Africa have won there twice, in addition to the extra leg in Edmonton last September, and are the defending champions following their success in September.
South Africa have played the most Cup finals of any team in Canada, reaching this stage in four of the past six tournaments. They finished second in 2016 and 2017 before winning their maiden Cup title at this event in 2019 before claiming gold for the second time in 2021.
New Zealand won the inaugural event in 2016 and again in 2020, in the last tournament to be staged before the enforced break brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
England claimed the gold medal in 2017, Dan Norton getting the winner against the Blitzboks and equalling Collins Injera’s try-scoring record in the process, while Fiji won for the only time in Vancouver the following year.
Home fans have not had much to shout about in terms of on-field success, with Canada’s bronze medal in 2020 the only time they have reached the podium.
However, the Canadian fans are never ones to let such disappointments dampen their spirits and the crowds in BC Place are known to be as colourful and raucous as anywhere else, if not more, on the circuit.
Black Ferns Sevens dominate
The same applies to the Westhills Stadium in Langford, British Columbia, which has played host to the women’s Canada Sevens since 2015.
Like most other venues around the world, New Zealand have typically been the dominant force.
The Black Ferns Sevens have won four out of the first five Canada Sevens titles on offer, with England the exception in 2016.
In beating Australia 21-17 in the 2019 final, it was the first time the All Blacks Sevens had completed four tournament wins at the same venue.
The 2020 tournament fell victim to the global pandemic, while in 2021, an abbreviated Fast Four tournament took the place of a full-blown World Series event, Great Britain doing the double by winning in both Vancouver and Edmonton.
Remaining tickets for the popular event are available at https://www.canadasevens.com/tickets-vancouver/
Rugby sevens fans around the world can watch the action via live stream on World Rugby digital platforms including www.world.rugby, YouTube and Facebook in countries where there is no national broadcaster covering the event.