Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
The men won’t be the only international athletes in Las Vegas next weekend as some of the top women’s sevens rugby teams in the world will be competing in the USA Women’s International 7s Tournament in Las Vegas.
Played over the course of three days starting February 11th, the competition will be intense and the rugby will be thrilling. The timing couldn’t be any better as women’s sevens needs to get their moment in the sun and start their path towards 2016.
It is easy to forget that rugby gained inclusion into the Olympics on the back of a strong push from the women’s side of the equation. In the time period since the Olympic announcement the game of sevens has seen massive growth in terms of exposure, but the women’s game has seen little reciprocation.
The teams vying for a spot in the final include the USA, France, Canada, the Canada Maple Leafs, Kenya, The Netherlands, Spain, and a Tyrolian Select Side. The USA is only fielding one side in the tournament as opposed to the split squad they used last year. In doing so, the USA has to be the early on favorite to take home honors in Las Vegas.
As an added bonus, the women’s final on Sunday will be broadcast on NBC/NBC Universal.
The Pool and the Plate matches will take place just outside Sam Boyd Stadium, while the semi-finals and final will be held inside the stadium, amidst the HSBC Sevens World Series event, USA Sevens.
NBC and/or NBC Universal will be broadcasting the final at 10:48 a.m. (PST) on Sunday February 13th. All other matches, with the exception of the final and semifinals, will be webcast on USA Rugby’s UStream channel, http://www.ustream.tv/usarugby.
The USA Women’s Sevens team competing in Vegas is a mix of experienced veterans, younger collegiate athletes, and some new crossovers from fifteen-a-side rugby. The USA Women are currently ranked 4th in the world in sevens and 5th in the world in fifteens.
Pool opponents for the USA include the Tyrolian Select squad, Netherlands, and their rivals to the north… Canada. Tyrolian Select and Netherlands shouldn’t give the USA much trouble, leaving the clash against the Canadians to decide the winner of the pool.
Day 1 Schedule
Highlights from last year’s final in Las Vegas… USA vs. China.