Players from Canada and Spain run onto the field during the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series stop at Starlight Stadium in April. Rugby Canada is combining the women’s and men’s tournaments at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver starting in 2023. (Black Press Media file photo)

Players from Canada and Spain run onto the field during the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series stop at Starlight Stadium in April. Rugby Canada is combining the women’s and men’s tournaments at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver starting in 2023. (Black Press Media file photo)

Women’s sevens rugby event shifts from Langford to Vancouver for 2023

HSBC World Rugby Seven Series tournament to be combined with men’s event

Langford may have hosted its last women’s sevens event, as Rugby Canada announced it is moving the tournament to BC Place Stadium in Vancouver starting next year.

The Canada leg of the Women’s Sevens Series, which has been hosted in Langford since its inception in 2015, will be hosted alongside the men’s event, with the weekend events expanding from two to three days to accommodate both tournaments.

The 2023 schedule for the series was released Tuesday, with the men’s and women’s tournaments running March 3 to 5 at B.C. Place.

Jamie Levchuk, interim chief executive office of Rugby Canada, said a request was made by the sport’s governing body World Rugby to combine the tournaments “for scheduling purposes and to better align with other tournaments on the Series.” Canada was the last leg of the series that held separate men’s and women’s events.

Having two “home teams” and providing equitable competition opportunities for the men’s and women’s teams, is important to Rugby Canada, he said. “The HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens in Langford was a great success and showcase for the women’s sevens game, but we feel 2023 will be an appropriate time for our events to evolve.”

Canada’s women recorded their highest finish of the 2021-22 series at Langford, finishing fifth in front of the home crowd at Starlight Stadium on April 30 and May 1. Overall, the team finished seventh on the series.

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The City of Langford had outlined plans to expand the capacity of Starlight Stadium in its most recent five-year financial plan, but Levchuk said it was unknown whether the sevens series could return to Langford in the future.

“2023 marks the final year of our hosting agreement with World Rugby to operate World Rugby Sevens Series events in Canada. Our focus is on securing hosting rights for further years – once we are confirmed as a continuing host, we will evaluate hosting requirements and plan accordingly.”

He added Langford remains the home of Rugby Canada and that they are looking to bring other international events to Starlight Stadium. The women’s 15’s team is set to play Italy here on July 24, as they prepare for the women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in October.

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