Everything You Need to Know About Rugby Sevens

We answer your most pressing questions about the Rugby Sevens tournament.

March 9, 2017

By Margaret de Silva / Photo: Martin Seras Lima; Christiaan Kotze/SASPA/World Rugby; Michael Lee, KLC fotos/World Rugby

Do you like dressing in costume, drinking giant beers, and watching big, sweaty men tackle each other? If this sounds like your idea of a good time, you’ll love the HSBC Canada Sevens. And if it doesn’t, well, consider yourself warned—a boozy, rollicking weekend-long party is hitting BC Place March 11 to 12—and there’s likely to be some rugby, too.

8 Things to Know About Rugby Sevens

1. Uh, what is Rugby Sevens?

Shhh, it’s ok. If you’ve never actually watched a game, it’s pretty simple to follow.

Rugby Sevens is a shorter, faster version of traditional rugby. Teams are made up of seven players playing seven-minute halves, instead of 15 players playing 40-minute halves.The result is a powerful, hard-hitting game with more frequent scoring. Points are awarded for tries (like touchdowns), which are worth five points; as well as conversion kicks (two points), and penalty kicks (three points).

To be honest, you really don’t need to know much about rugby to enjoy a sevens match. Just pick a side and grab a beer—it’ll all be over in 15 minutes anyway.

(Photo: Christiaan Kotze/SASPA/World Rugby.)

2. Who should I put my money on?

The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series consists of 10 tournaments in which 16 teams compete for points. The Canada Sevens is the seventh tournament in the series. Playing this year: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, England, Fiji, France, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Russia, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA, and Wales.

Last year, New Zealand won the Canada Sevens in a closely contested match against South Africa, although fan favourites Fiji went on to win the World Series.

South Africa is currently leading the 2017 series, followed closely by Fiji and England, so it could be anyone’s game.

3. Why do spectators dress up in wacky outfits?

“Fancy dress” is one of the more weirder Rugby Sevens traditions. Whether you’re watching in Wellington, Cape Town, or Vancouver, you’ll spot large groups dressed in bizarre costumes that have absolutely nothing to do with the game. Last year the 30,000-plus crowd embraced the tradition wholeheartedly with groups of elaborately dressed chickens, beavers, penguins, Lego-men, lumberjacks, superheroes and more spilling into downtown.

Fancy dress gives the whole event a carnival-like atmosphere but no one really knows why it’s a thing. People just really like drinking and watching rugby while wearing ridiculous outfits.

(Photo: Christiaan Kotze/SASPA/World Rugby.)

4. How long is the tournament?

Be ready for the long haul, it’s a weekend-long party.

Saturday is a round-robin competition from 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., while Sunday sees teams compete for gold, silver, and bronze from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. BC Place offers in and out privileges until 3:00 p.m. each day.

5. Are tickets still available?

If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, be quick—only 5 percent of tickets remain.

6. Where do I sit?

The raucous atmosphere is partly due to the general admission (GA) seating, where spectators can move around freely. Expect standing, cheering, and dancing. This year you can move freely between the lower and upper bowls provided you have a GA ticket.

(Photo: Michael Lee, KLC fotos/World Rugby.)

7. I like making noise and taking selfies. Can I bring my vuvuzela and selfie stick?

Unfortunately, no. Read the full list list of prohibited items.

8. Where can I party afterwards?

Tickets are still available for the official after-party at “The Prop House” at the Commodore Ballroom, but you’ll definitely find costume-clad fans at any bar within a few streets of the stadium. Your best bets:

The Back Forty
Central City
The Pint
Devil’s Elbow
Lennox Pub
Yaletown Brewhouse
Shark Club Sports Bar and Grill
Doolin’s Irish Pub
Library Square


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