In keeping with rugby tradition, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series tournament held in Vancouver on Sunday welcomed no shortage of costumes. Rowdy rugby fans, who are in a class of their own when it comes to eccentric displays of team spirit, arrived to BC Place stadium dressed in unicorn jumpsuits, Mountie uniforms, and even Marge Simpson wigs.
One notable audience member, Thor actor Chris Hemsworth, missed an opportunity to get some extra wear out of his Norse god outfit, but did manage to reflect the rugby ethos in a more subdued way. Sporting a rugged Aquaracer Calibre 5 watch on his wrist, the TAG Heuer brand ambassador was ready to testify that, like the globetrotting players taking to the field throughout the day, his timepiece of choice lives up to the TAG Heuer mantra #dontcrackunderpressure.
An avid surfer, Hemsworth said he regularly sports an Aquaracer while riding the waves in his homeland of Australia. “Any type of battering that my watch has taken in surf, it always keeps on ticking,” he said. “There was a swell about two weeks ago that was easily the biggest surf I’ve been a part of. I forgot I had my watch on, and I really took my beatings, but it was still there at the end.” He stopped just short of declaring that the watch could even withstand a blow from Thor’s mighty hammer. “I wouldn’t want to say who comes out best,” he conceded. “For the purposes of this interview, I’ll say the TAG. But maybe on the Marvel press tour I’ll have a different answer.”
TAG Heuer served as the official timekeeper for the day’s seven-on-seven matches and, prior to the final face-off between Fiji and Kenya, Hemsworth led the stadium in a short countdown. Following Fiji’s triumph over Kenya, he then presented the game’s MVP, Alasio Sovita Naduva with an Aquaracer Calibre 5 of his own.
Hemsworth said he often gifts watches as mementos to mark major milestones. “I was first given a TAG when I was working on Rush. Then on Avengers, as a wrap gift for the team of seven or eight that I work with, I gave them TAGs — that’s how TAG found out that I really am a fan. Each year since, I’ve done that again for my team as a wrap gift.”
The actor had arrived in Vancouver two days earlier to commence shooting his latest film, Bad Times at the El Royale. Whether his crew on that shoot have watches to look forward to or not, it sounded like Hemsworth would be in an especially good mood on set. “I packed my surfboard,” he said, grinning. “One of my first films — Cabin in the Woods — was shot here, and I had such a good time in Vancouver. To this day, Tofino remains one of my favourite places in the world, and I’ve wanted another film to be here ever since.”
For their part, TAG Heuer demonstrated their own love of British Columbia with a $10,000 donation to BC Rugby — funds that will help support rugby programs for indigenous youth.
The Sunday event marked the sixth of 10 tournaments held during the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, which culminates in Paris in June. The overall champion is crowned based on points accumulated throughout all 10 events.