Current Vike representing Canada in Langford this spring
The HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series is coming to the Island. The two-day tournament will be in Langford, B.C. on April 30 and May 1 at Starlight Stadium: the home stadium of Rugby Canada. This event has not taken place since 2019 due to the ongoing pandemic.
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is a tournament consisting of matches in a variety of locations globally. The World Rugby website provides a helpful explanation of the event: “The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is an annual competition that consists of a number of tournaments held around the world. Men’s and women’s teams compete at events for series points, and an overall champion is crowned at the end of the season.”
Each year, 12 of the world’s top-performing rugby teams attend the tournament. The tournament will include the national teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, England, Fiji, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and USA.
In light of current global climates, the Russian team has been suspended from competition, with Mexico stepping in to take their place.
World Rugby also released a statement to this effect on their website. “World Rugby reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine and the facilitation of this action by Belarus. The global rugby family is united in standing in solidarity with everyone affected by these deeply disturbing events and joins the global community in calling for the restoration of peace.” Russia and Belarus have been suspended from global rugby competition.
The Martlet caught up with current Vike and Canadian team player Renee Gonzalez who will be competing in the tournament. Gonzalez discussed what it’s like to be competing for Canada, and what she’s looking forward to in the tournament.
“I had the opportunity to represent Canada this past year … and it’s quite an experience,” said the athlete. “I’m definitely looking forward to playing in Langford because this is where I started joining the Rugby Canada program.”
Gonzalez is a two-time Canada West silver medallist with the Vikes from Scarborough, Ontario.
She explained that getting to play on “home-turf” is something she’s looking forward to. “Not many teams get that opportunity, so we’re definitely lucky.”
“It’s going to be a really fun event to come and watch,” she enthused. With the relaxing of COVID restrictions, Gonzalez is looking forward to having a full stadium as the energy the crowd brings makes competition that much more exciting.
“When we get the opportunity to have spectators, it makes a huge difference.”
When asked what she is most looking forward to in the tournament, Gonzalez spoke about the importance of having support at these kinds of competitions. “Knowing my friends and family also actually get to watch me for the first time, in person,” she said.
Despite some disappointing performances this season, Gonzalez described a period of growth within the team as they prepare for the event.
“I feel like as a team, we’ve grown a lot more from our previous tournaments. They haven’t been the results we wanted, but we’re also a new team working together, so I think we’ve gotten the opportunity to get to know each other a bit more on and off the field. So I think that’s going to be a huge asset for us going into Langford Sevens.”
Gonzalez credits her success in the sport largely to her experience as a Vike. “I’ve gotten to where I am because of Vikes,” she said. “Brittany Waters is an amazing coach.”