Women's rugby 7s team shares the same stage as men for first time in regular Canada tournament
For the first time in the history of Vancouver's Rugby Sevens tournament, women are sharing the same stage as their male counterparts, with the event at full capacity.
Canada Sevens is part of a multi-city set of tournaments around the world. In past years, the men's side has played its Canadian games in Vancouver, while the women played on Vancouver Island.
In 2021, the men and women played in the same venue, but the tournament was scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, both the men and women are playing at B.C. Place in Vancouver, and the tournament is back to full size, offering both sides access to the same size crowds.
"It's how it should be," said Rugby Canada's managing director of revenue and fan engagement, Jamie Levchuk.
"We're proud to be a part of it."
Team captain Olivia Apps said it's a good opportunity for her teammates to play in front of a bigger crowd on the same stage as the men's teams.
"I think it's a really great representation of the growth of rugby sevens and the equality of men's and women's sports internationally," said Olivia Apps, captain of Canada's Rugby Sevens senior women's team.
Despite the team's 28-7 loss to Ireland on Friday, she said it was "amazing" to play in front of a home crowd.
Apps' teammate, Keyara Wardley, says being able to play at B.C. Place has been good exposure for the women's game in general.
"When I was growing up, I didn't really have that much rugby to look up to," she said.
"To see how much it's grown is really inspiring."
While it's a step forward as far as equality between men's and women's sports, Apps said there's still work to be done, particularly when it comes to being paid to play professionally here in Canada. She said those conversations need to include both rugby sevens and 15s.
"I think that that is a really big step that needs to be taken."
WATCH | The Canadian women's national rugby team tangles with Ireland in Vancouver