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Reaching for the sky: Rugby sevens captains gather before Langford tournament

Canada’s Breanne Nicholas looks forward to having home field advantage this weekend

As rugby fans and teams from around the world gear up for the return of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens, captains of the 12 women’s sides gathered at the Malahat Skywalk on Thursday afternoon to take in the sights.

Posing next to the cup each hopes to hoist on Sunday, the players joked and took selfies together in what will surely be one of the last friendly moments before competition starts on April 30 at Starlight Stadium in Langford.

For Canada’s women, it marks the first time they have competed in the series on home turf since 2019, as the tournament was one of many events cancelled by the pandemic.

“We are very excited to have the tournament at home again,” said team captain Breanne Nicholas. “It’s definitely an advantage I would say. It’s always so hyped up, we have our friends and family there with our home supporters cheering us on. It helps us a lot.”

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Nicholas expects a lot of energy from the team and hopes they put their training to good use on the pitch.

New Zealand Black Ferns captain Sarah Hirini said her squad knows they have their work cut out for them to gain ground in the series standings having missed the first four tournaments, but they’re excited to be playing once again.

“It feels pretty amazing to be back in the series, playing sevens all over the world,” she said. “We have a pretty tough pool to start with … but at sevens we finally get to play a game that we love.”

The tournament is set for two full days of back to back games this weekend, starting with USA vs. Fiji at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Canada’s first match is at 10:58 a.m. against Spain, with follow up preliminary round matches at 2:02 p.m. vs. Mexico and the final game of the day at 6:03 p.m. against top-ranked Australia.

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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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