Rugby sevens international tournament to kick off at Vancouver’s BC Place

The Rugby sevens international tournament is set to kick off this weekend at BC Place in Vancouver. It’s the second time Vancouver has hosted both men’s and women’s teams.

The world’s best rugby players are set to return to BC Place on Friday, for the Rugby Sevens international tournament.

Vancouver is hosting both men’s and women’s teams for the second time from Feb. 23 to Feb 25.

Players from Team Canada tell CityNews they’re eager to play on a home turf.

“We really love playing in front of friends and family, in front of a home crowd, it’s such a buzz in there, so definitely excited,” said Olivia Apps, a captain for Rugby Sevens Canada.

On Wednesday, captains from each of the twelve countries were welcomed at the Musqueam Cultural Centre.

Wayne Sparrow, Chief of Musqueam First Nation, says the tournament is an opportunity to share some of Vancouver’s history.

“It’s an opportunity for us to spread the stories, our cultures, our teachings, our history, when you come into Vancouver, of who the communities were, where you come from and whose land you’re on,” said Chief Sparrow.

The event will have short 14-minute games, running every 22 minutes and showcasing some of the world’s best athletes. The games are expected to be sold-out, featuring a parade of costumes from the sport’s fans.

Vancouver has been a favourite stop on the tour not only for fans, but also for foreign players.

“I love coming here because there’s a lot of Irish, so there’s a great crowd, great support. Whenever we come here, I love going down to Granville Island, always getting a bit of food,” said Harry McNulty, a captain with Rugby Sevens Ireland.

“I think I like the most, it’s nature, here in Vancouver and we’ve been to Langford and that was amazing… People (are) also really nice,” said Anne Fernández De Corres, a captain with Rugby Sevens Spain.

Phil Berna, a captain with Rugby Sevens Canada, says this is an opportunity to grow rugby as a sport and inspire kids across the country.

“That’s what we need in Canada. We need that grassroots, we need kids being inspired, seeing men and women on the field, and seeing themselves there and something that they want to aspire to be,” he said.

Vancouver is the fourth stop in the series. Other upcoming stops include Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore and Madrid.

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