Rugby Canada and the Canada Sevens Bid Committee have announced the success of their bid to bring one of the world’s most thrilling sporting championships, rugby sevens, to Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium in March of 2016.
The Canada Sevens will be a two-day indoor tournament hosted at the world-class BC Place Stadium, host venue to Canada’s most prestigious events, and will feature sixteen of the world’s top men’s rugby sevens teams. Sevens rugby, a fast-paced and shorter version of traditional rugby with only seven players per side, has built a huge international audience through the success of the World Rugby Sevens Series, which attracts large audiences in markets around the world.
The decision from World Rugby, formerly known as the International Rugby Board (IRB), to bring the Sevens tour to Canada, comes as the result of an unparalleled submission by the Canada Sevens Bid Committee, which was co-chaired by John Furlong, former President and CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and Gareth Rees, Rugby Canada’s most decorated former national team athlete and World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee.
Rees said “Today’s announcement marks an incredibly important moment for the sport of rugby in our country. As a proud Canadian, and a proud alumnus of Canada’s National Team, I can say that playing on home turf in front of a home crowd on the road to Rio will be instrumental in our mission to top the podium in 2016. We are grateful to World Rugby for putting their trust in us to host the Sevens Series. Vancouver is the perfect choice to welcome this global event – and we are confident the sport, entertainment and festivities will capture the imagination of Canadians.”
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Vancouver is a world renowned event location and a city with a tremendous track record of hosting incredible events, like the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Its inclusion within a stellar Series hosting line-up, is great for players, great for fans and great for the ongoing prosperity and development of rugby in Canada and around the globe.”
“The tournament builds on the hosting legacy of Vancouver 2010. There is nothing like playing the best in the world at home in a full stadium,” added Bid-Committee Co-Chair, John Furlong. “Canadian fans will see Canada’s rising rugby stars face such powerhouse teams as the All-Blacks, Springboks, Wallabies and more in an electrifying, non-stop atmosphere with the world watching.”
World Rugby awarded hosting rights to Canada following a highly competitive process involving over twenty bidding nations. The full list of global markets selected to play host to the rugby sevens tour will be announced in March, 2015. Canada’s fiercely passionate rugby community in British Columbia will now have the honor of welcoming an annual event that is sure to attract visitors and attention from all corners of the globe. The 2016 premier for the annual Vancouver tournament, comes just in time to highlight the entry of rugby sevens into the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at which Canada hopes to qualify and contend for a podium finish.
Rugby Canada is no stranger to hosting the world on home soil. The men’s Canada Sevens tour stop comes on the heels of Canada being selected to host the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series annually in Langford, B.C. with the inaugural event coming to life April 18-19, 2015. The Women’s Sevens Series features twelve of the world’s best teams, and this year, will serve as a key event in the qualifying rounds for Rio 2016.
The Canada Sevens brand positioning “New Place, New Face, New Force” highlights Rugby Canada’s bold vision for the growth of the sport and fan base through the dynamic game of rugby sevens. The World Rugby Sevens World Series brings a unique fan experience leveraging entertainment, and an unrivaled atmosphere that is known to take over host cities like Hong Kong, London and Dubai in a weekend-long festival environment.
Canada has competed in every World Rugby Sevens Series since its formation in 1999, with the men finishing with an overall sixth place and women earning a third place result in 2013-14. Both Canadian teams are seen as potential podium contenders for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.