Las Vegas is home to many things such as Celine Dion, Carrot Top, Chippendales, and Criss Angel, three of which I never want to see in my life. You also have casinos, stores and strippers, all which are probably under the same roof as your hotel room. But, did you know that it is also home to one of the stops for the Rugby Sevens World Series? Well, now you do.
The University of Regina’s sophomore men’s and rookie women’s rugby teams traveled down to Nevada from Feb. 7-10 to compete and represent the U of R in the 2013 USA Invitational Rugby 7’s Tournament.
Within the 12 divisions, the Cougars were a part of the men’s and women’s college divisions, where they competed against 24 and 8 teams, respectively.
“We were aiming for top half, and we did, which is good for us,” explained Daniel Smith, centre for the men’s team after returning home from the tournament.
Overall, the men’s team went 2-3 while the women’s team went 1-4 at the event.
Besides some unexpected cold weather and the lop-sided scores, nothing seemed to take away from the experience both teams gained from attending such a competition. They competed against world-class competition, and men’s first-year player, Wade Lavelle, proved to be a huge asset to the team.
“He was extraordinary. He did really well for us and was a huge leader which is huge for someone his age,” Smith said. “Overall, we just had a really good time and everything really clicked. All of us are feeling pretty good about Victoria.”
“Overall, we just had a really good time and everything really clicked. All of us are feeling pretty good about Victoria.” – Daniel Smith
Both rugby teams will now head off to Victoria, B.C. to compete in the CIS 7’s tournament on March 1-2. It will be the first year competing in CIS for the women’s team, and the second for the men.
Last year, getting to the CIS championships was extremely rushed for the team; but with much dedication from players Alan Harvey and Brett Kannenberg, the team was funded and organized just in time to throw a team together and compete on behalf of the U of R.
Smith described it as a learning experience that they will use heading back into the tournament.
“This year we are aiming for top half,” he said. “Without a doubt, we should be able to do it.”
The players left yesterday, and will have a couple of days to receive sessions from team Canada players before starting competition on the weekend. The women will face Calgary while the men will take on McMaster University.
You can watch the teams play online at events.rugbycanada.ca
Photo courtesy of usassevens.com