Friday 3rd March 2023, Vancouver Canada. The HSBC Canada Sevens gets underway this weekend 3-5 March, marking the 200th men’s tournament in HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series history.
The 28 captains gathered on Wednesday on the traditional territory of Tsleil-Waututh Nation ahead of the highly anticipated HSBC Canada Sevens, the sixth of 11 tournaments this season. Samoa was represented by Co-Captain Vaovasa Afa-Su’a.
The 2023 Series is shaping up to be the most competitive in history with the prize of Olympic Games Paris 2024 qualification on offer for the top four women’s and men’s teams in the 2023 Series standings, while France have pre-qualified as hosts.
The men’s Series has seen five different gold medal winners (Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and South Africa) in the six rounds to date.
Samoa is currently placed 5th in the world series table and would be looking to get past the quarterfinal stage this weekend to remain in contention for automatic qualification to Paris 2024.
This weekend is a three day tournament with two pool games on Day 1. Samoa’s first game is at 10am Saturday morning local time against Spain followed by USA at 1pm (4pm in Canada).
The women’s tournament will join the men’s for the first time in Canada.
The New Zealand Black Ferns Sevens lead the women’s Series standings, having won 3 tournaments already this season. This weekend in Vancouver, if New Zealand’s women’s team reaches the cup finals, they will be the second nation to officially qualify for Paris 2024 after France, who have a spot secured as hosts.
Black Ferns women’s captain Sarah Goss said: “It’s been amazing being in a new city in Canada, we love coming here and to be able to play at BC Place – we went to the stadium yesterday and had a run around against Canada – it’s an amazing stadium and we’re looking forward to the weekend.
“I have only seen that [New Zealand can qualify for Paris 2024] in the media and we haven’t actually talked about that as a team. We’re just trying to get better and better as the tournament goes along and we’re very happy with how we’re sitting but we probably won’t be too happy unless we continue that momentum we’ve already built.”
New Zealand All Blacks Sevens sit atop the men’s Series standings having won back-to-back stops in Sydney and Los Angeles.
The men’s pools for Vancouver have HSBC Los Angeles winners New Zealand in Pool A alongside Cape Town champions Samoa, Spain and the United States. Pool B includes silver medal winners Argentina with South Africa France and Japan. Bronze medal winners Fiji will meet Great Britain, Uruguay and Kenya in Pool C, while Australia lead Pool D alongside Ireland, Canada and Chile.
The women’s pools for Vancouver have New Zealand, Fiji, Great Britain and Colombia in Pool A. Reigning Series champions Australia will be looking to bounce back in Pool B against France, Japan and Spain. Pool C sees the USA together with Ireland, hosts Canada and Brazil.
Source: World Rugby