USA Sevens Rugby returns to Las Vegas
Round five of the HSBC Sevens World Series of Rugby returned to Las Vegas this past weekend. Sixteen teams from around the world fought over a three-day tournament called the USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament. The team from South Africa took home the coveted tournament cup trophy and pulled into second place in the series behind front-runner New Zealand. The U.S. team played well beating Spain but lost in close matches to very strong teams from Samoa, Fiji and Canada. The tournament was held at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas over a three-day stretch in front of record crowds. NBC broadcast several matches live on both Saturday and Sunday in an effort to introduce U.S. fans to a growing sport that will be featured in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
Rugby Sevens, which has been played for over 130 years, differs from Rugby 15s in that there are only seven players on a side. Matches are only 14 minutes long and consist of two seven-minute halves. The field, or "pitch," is the same size as a regulation Rugby pitch at 100 meters by 60 meters. Points are scored by touching the ball to the ground in the "try zone." Five points are scored for a try. The scoring team then gets to attempt a two-point conversion by drop kicking the ball through a goal post. Sound like American football? It ought to. American football traces its roots to Rugby.
The sport of Rugby is alive and well in Orange County with many youth, high school, college and adult teams for both men and women. More information on Rugby clubs in Southern California can be found at scrfu.org.
This summer, the Grand Prix Rugby Sevens Championship will be played at the Home Depot Center in Carson. Tickets are on sale now for the July 12-14 competition. Check out grandprixrugby.com for more information.