The 12 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series captains took to the skies on Thursday afternoon at the stunning Malahat Skywalk ahead of the fifth round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022.
Located 20km north of Starlight Stadium, which will host this weekend’s tournament, the stunning tree walk and 32m tall spiralled wooden structure provided sweeping views of Mt. Baker, Finlayson Arm, the Saanich Peninsula, and islands in both Canada and the United States.
Australia have been in fine form in the 2022 Series so far, winning three of the first four rounds while scoring 653 points and conceding only 181.
The 2022 Series champion will be decided by an accumulation of points from each team’s best four events out of six, which means that Australia can clinch the title with a visit to the cup final this weekend.
Australia are joined in Pool A by Spain, along with the hosts Canada and Mexico, who last weekend met in the cup final of the Rugby Americas North Sevens Qualifiers in Nassau, Bahamas. The Canadians booked their ticket to the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 in South Africa by defeating Las Serpientes 33-0 at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
Australia co-captain said: “It’s been a few months since we played in Spain and we are really excited to kick off on Saturday. We had a few preparation days yesterday and today, so we’re super stoked and can’t wait to play”
Langford represents the first appearance in the 2022 Series of the reigning Olympic Champions New Zealand, while Olympic bronze medallists Fiji also return after a Covid-19 enforced absence. New Zealand and Fjii join England and the United States in Pool C, in what could be described as the most competitive pool in history.
New Zealand Captain Sarah Hirini: “I feel like we’re back home. Even back travelling again and stepping back into the routine has been quite seamless. The girls are going to be happy to be there – I’m sure there are going to be a bit of nerves but also probably a lot of excess energy to release this weekend. We’re ranked last place on the series at the moment and we’re going to try our best to climb the ladder in the last couple of tournaments.
Fresh off their first-ever cup final appearance in Seville, Ireland are leading the pack in Pool B alongside France, Brazil and Japan.
The actions kicks off on Saturday, 30 April at 9:30 local time (GMT-8) with USA v Fiji. All teams will complete their three pool matches on day one with the hosts Canada taking on Australia in the last match of the day scheduled for 18:03 local time. The finals day commences at 10:00 local time on Sunday with the quarter-finals followed by semi-finals and the gold medal match kicking off at 16:58 local time.
Rugby sevens fans around the world can watch the action via live stream on World Rugby digital platforms including www.world.rugby, You Tube and Facebook in countries where there is no national broadcaster covering the event.
Following outstanding men’s and women’s competitions at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July 2021, the Series continues to reach new fans. Independent research showed Rugby sevens’ second Olympic appearance to be hugely impactful for the sport in engaging and inspiring new, younger and more diverse fans across the globe, particularly in emerging rugby nations with 54 per cent agreeing the Olympics increased their interest in the sport and 63 per cent watching sevens for the first time.
2022 is a huge year for rugby sevens. Alongside the Series, the Commonwealth Games will take place in Birmingham, England in July and then all eyes will turn to Cape Town, South Africa for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 on 9-11 September.