Ruggers offer rave reviews for B.C. Place tournament
Four years in, the Canada Sevens are now regarded as one of the best all-around stops on the 10-tournament HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Last year, local organizers received a World Rugby award as tournament of the year. Players and coaches parrot that the fans, venue — B.C. Place Stadium — and the city’s amenities are fantastic.
Here are a few of the comments from those on or near the pitch:
Adam Zaruba (Canadian player):
■ “It’s one of the few times a year we get to play in front of a home crowd, in front of friends and family. For us personally, as athletes that’s a really special thing ...
“For the early games in the morning, some other stadiums, you play at 10, 10:30, you’ve got maybe 1,000 people in the stands. Here, the stadium’s already halffull, cheering.”
Dan Norton (England player,
all-time leading try scorer): “It’s pretty cool playing here. It’s one of the only artificial pitches (in the series). It’s nice to be able to get a constant bounce, nice solid contact when you run and move, it’s nice and fluid. Feels nice and fast beneath my feet.
“It is well received in the whole of the city, everyone’s buzzing about it, we get to go watch the Canucks and stuff, and enjoy what this city has to offer.”
Werner Kok (South Africa player):
■ “It’s amazing, every single time we’ve come to Canada, outside the field it’s an amazing place, though the cold gets us a little bit!
“Every time we walk into the stadium, your eyes just open up. You say ‘wow.’ It surprises you every time you step onto this pitch. It’s a quick field, it’s a wonderful field, it looks amazing and the screams above your head, it’s quite intimidating.
“It’s great, everything works, there’s always somebody ready to help you. The dressing rooms are amazing, there’s more than enough space and then when you come out here, the crowd, the crowd is amazing . ...
“It’s all very, very welcoming. I hope it stays here for another 10 years because I’d like to come watch as a fan one day.”
Dallen Stanford (former U.S.
player, now television commentator): “I love the Vancouver sevens because first of all it’s a new place to travel to, which is really great. And the actual stadium itself is one of the best I’ve seen in the world, because it’s a closed-dome stadium, the weather has no impact, which is fantastic.”