Rug­gers of­fer rave re­views for B.C. Place tour­na­ment

Vancouver Sun - - SPORTS - PA­TRICK JOHN­STON pjohn­[email protected]­ twit­­gac­tion

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.”

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