Vancouver, BC – March 21, 2019: BC Rugby is delighted to announce that the Vancouver Rugby Festival (VRF) has been secured for a further four years, following the confirmation of the HSBC Canada Sevens returning to the city from 2020-2023. A week-long celebration of Rugby, the VRF is a celebration of what makes rugby such an exciting, welcoming and inclusive sport, culminating in the Vancouver Sevens Invitational (VSI)
The confirmation follows on the heels of the announcement that the HSBC Canada Sevens has secured a four-year extension of its inclusion in the World Rugby Sevens Series. With the top Rugby Sevens teams from across the world certain to return to the city, the VSI is perfectly placed to showcase the next generation of Rugby Sevens stars and help inspire players of the future. The next edition of the tournament will be held on March 5-6, 2020.
“For the next generation of Canadian Sevens players, the Vancouver Sevens Invitational aims to provide challenging competition and the opportunity to then watch Canada in action on home soil,” said BC Rugby CEO, Annabel Kehoe. “The opportunity afforded by HSBC Canada Sevens is to get more British Columbians aware, interested and joining the game. When it comes to the VSI, we have the very real prospect of having high-quality competition in our own backyard, without the usual travel expenses.”
Two weeks ago, 46 male and female teams from across Canada and the USA gathered in Vancouver to compete across NextGen, U18 and U16 divisions, making the 2019 VSI was the most successful edition of the tournament to date. “We’re pleased to see a real step up in the competitive level of the teams this year,” said Tournament Director Tanya Donaldson. “The next four years is all about consolidating this focus on meaningful competition for the top Youth and NextGen teams in North America.”
Indeed it was a successful year all-round, with the Vancouver Rugby Festival reaching new heights, accommodating more rugby than ever before. Hundreds of children took part in Rookie Rugby Jamborees in Vancouver and Delta, meeting Canadian National Rugby Stars in the process and winning amazing prizes. A dozen schools across the Greater Vancouver area held Rookie Rugby taster sessions, attended by International Men’s Rugby teams. There was also a fine gathering of Over 40s players for the Masters XVs tournament that took place at Connaught Park, demonstrating that Rugby is a truly lifelong sport.
The impact of the Vancouver Rugby Festival even extends into the HSBC Canada Sevens. The HSBC Rookie Rugby (Powered by Honda) exhibition on day two demonstrated how fun and easy it can be for children to pick up Rugby, with hundreds of enthusiastic local kids getting a chance to play on the main field at BC Place stadium.
“With rugby one of the fastest growing sports in North America, events like the Vancouver Rugby Festival are essential to harness the rising energy, excitement and interest in the sport and channel it towards the many clubs and programs already on offer in the Province,” said Annabel Kehoe. “We have an amazing opportunity over the next four years to leverage the HSBC Canada Sevens to make a real step change in how many people in BC engage with Rugby.”
Teams interested in competing in the 2020 Vancouver Sevens invitational should mark their diaries with next year’s tournament dates, March 5-6, and stay tuned for more information from the tournament organisers.
If you would like to get involved with rugby in your area, visit bcrugby.com/jointhegame