As the dust settles on the first Canada Women’s Sevens rugby tournament held in Langford, the inevitable question of what’s next comes to mind.
Team Canada, now sitting alone in second place on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, is back practising on the Westhills Stadium turf preparing for the crucial final two stages of the Series, from which four teams will clinch a berth in the 2016 Olympics.
Last weekend’s packed houses for the games, combined with community outreach initiatives organized by Rugby Canada in the leadup to the tournament, made the events a huge success. The atmosphere of inclusion that permeated the whole affair, from players being accessible to the fans, to raucous cheers going up for great plays made by non-Canadian teams, is something we’d like to see happen again next year.
The return of this event to Langford is this community’s bid to lose. Vancouver, which hosts its first World Rugby men’s seven-a-side series tournament next year at B.C. Place, isn’t likely to be considered by Rugby Canada for the women’s series until it is assured the city will support big-time international rugby.
Having the national training centre here and seeing growth in rugby at the high school girls level in Greater Victoria and on the Island make this location a natural for future events.
As Rugby Canada communications manager Bryan Kelly said afterward, the goal is to ignite even more people’s passion for the sport, to help solidify the fan base and to grow the sport from the grassroots levels on up.
It’s all about taking a step back, analyzing what went right and what needs improving, then putting the wheels in motion to bring the event back, the earlier the better. For certain, the City of Langford will be front and centre doing their part to ensure the Canada Women’s Sevens is on the calendar for spring 2016.