Rugby Canada Awarded World Rugby Sevens Series Tournament in Vancouver

Feb 24, 2015

VANCOUVER, BC (February 23, 2015) – The World Rugby Sevens Series is coming to Vancouver, British Columbia in March 2016. Rugby Canada and the Canada Sevens Bid Committee announced today, the success of their bid to bring one of the world’s most thrilling sporting championships to Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium. 

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.

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 has also announced today that the tournament will be Chaired by John Furlong and the Canada Sevens Board of Directors will also include former seasoned VANOC leaders Caley Denton and Mary Fraser as well as senior business and rugby leaders including Pat Aldous, Leonard Brody, Rick Bourne, Roger Smith, and Gareth Rees. 

The Vancouver bid, which was supported by the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, BC Pavilion Corporation/BC Place, the Vancouver Hotel Destination Association, Tourism Vancouver and over fifty Canadian corporations and organizations, builds on Vancouver’s established success hosting world-class sport events. The tournament and supporting entertainment and activities is expected to generate strong tourism activity and will drive significant economic impact for the region.

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.

Bernard Lapasset, Chairman, World Rugby: “As we move towards Rio 2016, the Olympic sport of Rugby Sevens is going from strength to strength and the World Rugby Sevens Series has been at the heart of the global Sevens success story with its winning brand of high-octane competitive and broadcast- friendly action, global locations and festival atmosphere. 

“Vancouver’s inclusion is exciting for World Rugby and will boost the sport’s ability to inspire fans in established and developing rugby markets, and contribute to the continued growth of the Game and its character-building values worldwide.”

The Honourable Bal Gosal, P.C., Minister of State (Sport): “I congratulate, on behalf of all Canadians, Rugby Canada and the Canada Sevens Bid Committee on the successful bid to host the World Rugby Sevens Series in Vancouver. Our Government has been a strong supporter of this bid. During the Year of Sport in Canada, today’s announcement is an amazing opportunity to promote this exciting brand of rugby, our athletes and the path ahead to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, and then on to the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games.”

The Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia: “With a strong rugby-playing heritage, Vancouver and British Columbia are a great choice to host the Sevens World Series. I know our community will welcome this world-class sporting event with open arms, and provide a great experience for all our visitors.”

The Honourable Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development:“As the minister responsible for sport in B.C., it is incredibly rewarding to hear that the Vancouver bid to host the Sevens World Series has been successful. This further supports B.C.’s reputation as a leader in hosting world class sporting events. It is also a great opportunity for British Columbians to enjoy the sport of rugby at its highest level.”

The Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations: “This is great news for Vancouver and the province. Congratulations to all those involved in the bid process for bringing such a prestigious event to B.C. I look forward to taking in the action next year as the world’s best rugby sevens players compete for top honours.” 

The Honourable Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure: “Hosting the World Rugby Sevens Series is great for Vancouver and for the whole province. Rugby fans are in for a treat, and this is a great opportunity to showcase British Columbia and the world-class sporting venue we have in BC Place to an international audience.”

Mayor Gregor Robertson, City of Vancouver: “Hosting the Sevens World Series is an incredible honour for Vancouver and an exciting opportunity for rugby fans across Canada. I look forward to supporting Canada’s rugby players on home turf, and building on Vancouver’s continued success as a world-class host city for international sporting events.”

Ken Cretney, Interim President & CEO, BC Pavilion Corporation: “The World Rugby Sevens Series is a tremendous opportunity for BC Place and British Columbians to once again to host an international competition in our world-class venue,” said Ken Cretney, interim president and CEO, BC Pavilion Corporation. “BC Place is extremely proud to welcome premier international events such as the World Rugby Sevens Series and FIFA Women’s World Cup, which not only draw significant numbers of visitors to the region, but also results in significant contribution to our local businesses.”   

Russ Cowan, Executive Director, Vancouver Hotel Destination Association: “As an organization focused on tourism marketing and bringing major events to the city, we are pleased to be a major supporter of the partnership to bring this world class competition to Vancouver.”

Marsha Walden, Chief Executive Officer Destination BC: “We are so proud to welcome World Rugby to British Columbia, and to introduce the world to our spectacular province. From the world class host city of Vancouver, to the outlying regions that offer a wealth of opportunity, entertainment and wonder – we are certain rugby fans from all corners of the globe will find their place in B.C. We wish Rugby Canada and the Canada Sevens Bid Committee congratulations and good luck, and we can not wait to celebrate in March 2016.”

Ty Speers, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Vancouver: “Given that hosting major sporting events is an integral part of a successful tourism strategy, Tourism Vancouver is thrilled to welcome another world class event to our city. Rugby sevens is known around the world as an exciting celebration of both sport and entertainment…hence the reason it attracts so many tourists to its host cities.  Now it’s Vancouver’s opportunity to share our spectacular city with rugby sevens fans for years to come.”

Gareth Rees, Canada Sevens Bid Committee Co-Chair and World Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee: “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.

Pat Aldous, Chairman, Rugby Canada: “The future of rugby in Canada is bright, thanks to opportunities like this to host international competition on home soil. Bringing the World Rugby Sevens Series to Canada for both the men and the women in the lead up to Rio 2016 will surely inspire new generations of rugby fans and players for years to come.” 

Graham Brown, CEO, Rugby Canada: Rugby Canada is incredibly excited to be hosting an official stop on the World Rugby Sevens Series in March 2016. Hosting an event of this caliber, and bringing the world to Vancouver, is a huge opportunity to grow and strengthen rugby in Canada. Canadians from coast-to-coast will undoubtedly get behind our Men’s Sevens Team at BC Place, especially with the excitement of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Summer Games on the horizon later that year.”

Jim Dixon, CEO, BC Rugby: “BC Rugby’s members are incredibly excited the World Rugby Sevens Series is coming to Vancouver. The tournament provides a chance for the rugby community to come together and be inspired, watching the world’s best at play. It is a tremendous platform for growing the game here in BC and we very much look forward to supporting this event.”

To sign up for early bird ticket presale and an opportunity to win the very first Canada Sevens tournament pass please visit 



For more information, please contact:

Bryan Kelly, Manager, Communications & Media Rugby Canada

Auburn Sigurdson