An official proclamation from the mayor rubber stamped May 27 as Rugby Day in Langford, to mark the 2017 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens tournament.
At a ceremony Thursday morning at City Hall, Mayor Stew Young drew a few laughs from an enthusiastic group that included members of the Canadian team, when he suggested that “International Rugby Day” might be a more fitting declaration given the scope of the event, set for May 27 and 28 at Westhills Stadium.
“We are honoured to have Rugby Canada call Langford home and are so proud of the hard work, talent and dedication these elite women have shown,” Young said. “We want to acknowledge their success and the support of the community, fans and volunteers who are looking forward to the (tournament).”
Gareth Rees, director of of commercial and program relations for Rugby Canada, said declaring May 27 as Rugby Day is fitting, considering the local support shown for the men’s and women’s national teams since they moved to Langford in 2012.
“As someone who grew up in (Greater Victoria), I’m so proud of the support the community has shown,” Rees said. “Langford has truly embraced us, and the international teams really love coming here to play. We’re the only country this year to have won in both men’s and women’s tournaments, and the support has been amazing. That’s why the world is coming here to Langford.”
The Canadian women currently stand third in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Seven Series standings, following their recent silver-medal performance in Japan. The Langford tournament is the fifth stop in the six-event series, which features the top 12 teams from around the world.
Megan Lukan, a Barrie, Ont. native who plays fly half for Canada’s team, said the team is primed for the upcoming games.
“We’re excited about how the community has gotten behind us,” said Lukan, who now lives on Bear Mountain. “We can’t wait to show people what we have been training for every day. What we did last year was phenomenal and we can’t wait for this year’s tournament. Westhills Stadium is an amazing venue and has the best atmosphere anywhere.”
Canada placed fifth in last year’s tournament, despite only losing one match, 14-12 to France in the quarter-finals, the entire weekend.
Ticket demand is expected to be high considering that recent tournaments played to capacity crowds. Organizers suggest purchasing tickets as soon as possible at canadasevens.com.