It’s time for clubs to think seriously about confirming their spots at the Las Vegas Invitational, to be held February 7-9, 2013, around the same time as the USA 7s international tournament.
This tournament covers all areas of the game – 15s, and 7s, men and women, high school, college, club, masters, and elite levels.
The Men's Elite 7s offers a unique opportunity for American teams to raise their game.
Tiger Rugby out of Southern California performed in the Men’s Elite 7s in 2012, along with US-based teams such as the Chicago Lions and Denver Barbarians, as well as touring professional teams, including winners the Social Vibe Pups, and national teams such as Spain, Chile, and the French B side.
For many this was invaluable experience, and the tournament provided a stepping stone into the USA national team.
“It was a completely new level of competition,” said Tiger Rugby program director and coach James Walker. “In no other tournament in the USA can you play national teams. Spain was basically a core-level team at that points.”
A month later Spain qualified for core status for this season. Tiger Rugby beat them, and tied Chile on their way to the Elite final, where they fell to the Bull Pups.
“I think that level of international experience is what you need,” said Walker. “We’ve been to the LVI before and we got that experience. We’re close with the Chicago Lions team and they are a very good program, but they didn’t have the same level of experience against international teams, and that made a difference for us.”
The Tiger Rugby team included Peter Dahl and Tai Enosa, now on the USA team, while the Bull Pups included Luke Hume, now also a 7s Eagle.
“I think definitely, if you want to be considered for the national team, you have to be put in a situation where you can show your mettle,” said Walker. “The LVI is almost unique in that way. I do think it helped some of our players, and we are really looking forward to next year. We’re going to put together a team which will include players [USA 7s Coach] Alex Magleby might want to see, and maybe some players we think he should see.”
And Walker also says rugby fans should seek out the Elite 7s games.
“There are some amazing games in that bracket; I just wish more people could have seen our game against Spain. It was a great game.”
For more on how to get your team to the LVI click here.