The Rugby Sevens Tournament
The Rugby sevens tournament put on by HSBC is one of the largest rugby tournaments in the world. Vancouver has been one of the stops for the past four years, and recently they were able to announce that they won the bid to continue hosting the sevens for another four years. My first time going was two years ago, back in 2017, and it was quite a memorable experience. This year it was even better.
Every year, those who attend dress up for the tournament, and this year was no exception. The costumes that people wore were crazy; they ranged from things like inflatable T-Rex costumes to people dressed as pregnant nuns with almost everything in between. You may look to the left and see a group of people in cow onesies and then look to your right and see a dozen people dressed as scientists with bright green wigs. It was quite the lively atmosphere. Also, it was cool to see Jason Momoa at the rugby sevens that day, given his connection to the New Zealand team. Later in the day, some of the Riverdale cast made an appearance as well.
Some of the games that happened throughout the day were simply amazing. The match where England went against USA was one of the closest games I have ever seen. England was winning up until the last few seconds when USA scored a try to tie up the game and then won the game when they were successful with the conversion.
About halfway through the day, we, a group of people from the HSBC suite, were given a VIP tour around some of the player areas and the behind-the-scenes operations. Part of the tour was lead by a retired Team Canada sevens player, John Moonlight. He gave us insight on what it was like to be a player in these sorts of games. It added to the whole immersion of the tour and really made you connect with the atmosphere. We also went to the camera room where they filmed and did the commentating of the games live. It was quite the operation, with multiple cameras going and even multiple commentators. It was really neat to see how it was all done.
Throughout the day in between games, the camera operators would focus on people for things like “kiss cam” and “dance cam,” but one that was new to me was the “oblivious cam.” This was one where the camera was focused on someone in the crowd, and next to the footage was a timer counting up until the person realized that they were on camera on the big Jumbotron screen. The longest I saw was 19 seconds.
Unfortunately, Canada’s team did not make it to the Cup qualifier, but they were the runner-up for Challenge Trophy since they lost to Australia in the Challenge Trophy final 21-35. Right before this game, I experienced something that was definitely unforgettable and borderline scarring. Someone from the crowd ran into the middle of the field and proceeded to take all his clothes off and run around the field. It took a surprising amount of time for the security and police personnel to get him, but nonetheless, he was caught and arrested.
The final two games were both equally amazing in sportsmanship. Fiji won the Bronze medal game against the USA team, and South Africa won the Cup final game against France with a score of 21-12. Over the span of the two days that weekend, the attendance was 73,819 people. Overall, this was an amazing experience, and I would definitely recommend that anyone see the Rugby Sevens here in Vancouver.