Vancouver, Edmonton to host World Series rugby sevens tournaments in September

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Pending local government approval, Vancouver and Edmonton will both host HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series events in September.

The men's tournaments, scheduled for Sept. 18-19 in Vancouver and Sept. 25-26 in Edmonton, are slated to kick off the pandemic-delayed 2021 World Series.

The women are set to return to action Oct. 2-3 in Paris.

The pandemic prompted the World Series to shut down after the men's HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver in March 2020. A women's event in Langford, B.C., scheduled for early May that year was one of the tournaments cancelled.

World Rugby says six men’s and four women’s rounds are scheduled in the final four months of 2021.

Last season, the men got in six of 10 planned tournaments and the women five of eight before the schedule ground to a halt.

The Vancouver stop will be held, following the tradition of the Canada Sevens, at B.C. Place. Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium will take over the following week.

"The health and well-being of players, fans and the wider community remains top priority and both World Rugby and the host organizations will work closely with the relevant national governments and health agencies to ensure the safe and secure delivery of the events," World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin said in a statement.

Rugby Canada said tournament logistics, including team invitations and stadium capacity, are being finalized.

Under Alberta's reopening plan, it's expected some 31,000 fans will be allowed each day at Commonwealth Stadium, it added. Capacity is expected to be restricted at B.C. Place.

Vancouver and Edmonton will join Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and Cape Town in hosting tournaments on the men's 2021 circuit.

The women's season will featured events in Hong Kong, Dubai and Cape Town as well as Paris. The hope is Langford, B.C., will return to the circuit next year.

"It’s shaping up to be a very busy fall for our teams and staff but combined with our recently announced 2023 Rugby World Cup qualification matches, what a way to bring international rugby back to Canada," Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen said in a statement.

"Hosting four events across three different provinces, combined with the return of our community game in most regions, is so encouraging for rugby and sport in Canada."

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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