Rugby fever came to town in March, and almost 75,000 rugby fans poured into BC Place over two days. This marked the fifth year that the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series touched down in Vancouver.
Canada took bronze after a third-place showdown with South Africa on the last day, making it Canada’s first podium finish in the series. After comfortably beating Spain in the quarters, Canada lost its way to the ultimate podium finish to Australia. The series leaders, New Zealand, crushed Australia in the finals and celebrated their strong finish by performing the haka—a traditional war dance—for fans on Sunday.
The Vancouver fans made this year’s rugby sevens so special. The fans had vibrant energy throughout the two-day tournament, and it spilled over onto the pitch with cheers and dancing. This year’s stop in Vancouver was filled with hordes of fans dressed as their favourite TV and movie characters.
The 7-a-side matches were much more high stakes than regular rugby games. The matches were faster, at 14 minutes each, and there were fewer players than in a traditional 15-a-side game. The entire experience was a huge adrenaline ride. Bone-crunching tackles, blistering runs, and tremendous tries jam-packed the rugby matches.
All the aggression, passion, and competitiveness that happened on the field inspired respect and admiration of the game and the culture in Vancouver fans. Canada definitely has a special place in its heart for the sport of rugby (though it’s nothing compared to hockey). With the city extending its deal to host World Rugby, this will quickly become a must-attend March event.