World Rugby Women's Sevens Series in Victoria this weekend
Rugby sevens will debut at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio
This weekend, some of the world's best women's rugby players take to the pitch in the Victoria suburb of Langford for the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series.
The world's top 12 teams will play at Westhills stadium, which is home to Canada's national rugby teams. Teams include New Zealand, Australia, France, U.S.A., England, Russia, Fiji, Brazil, Spain, South Africa, China and Canada.
This weekend's tournament is the first time a women's sevens series event will take place in Canada.
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Rugby Sevens is very similar to traditional rugby, except there are seven players on each side instead of 15 and the matches are shorter. The upcoming tournament will help all teams gear up for the sports' debut at next year's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio.
Team Canada has placed third in three tournaments this season, tying them for second overall, 12 points behind New Zealand. The top four teams at the end of this season will automatically qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
As part of the festivities this week, the 11 visiting countries are being paired up with local Victoria-area schools. Shoreline middle school will be hosting South Africa, and students have been preparing for the visit in recent weeks.
"They know all of the girls on the team's names and a lot of them in are in African so they've learned the names and put their hometowns on this giant map of South Africa," said Tom Woods, a former men's national team player and coach at Shoreline Middle School.
"They get exposed to athletes that train full time and represent their countries, so it adds a different element for them to the sport."
Organizers say the two-day round-robin style tournament will blend the excitement of traditional rugby with a unique party atmosphere. Often fans come dressed up in their fancy attire to cheer on their favourite team.
Team Canada Schedule
Saturday April 18, 2015
12:50 Canada vs Russia
15:50 Canada vs South Africa
18:50 Canada vs USA
To hear the full interview about this weekend's event, listen to the audio labelled Rugby Sevens