The Las Vegas Invitational tournament slated for a little over a month from now looks set to be even bigger than last year’s 230-team event.
But it has changed a little over time. Sevens has become the game of choice over 15s for many teams. Youth teams are flocking to the tournament more than ever, while the elite level for men has grown massively.
The College 7s bracket remains strong despite news that the winner is not guaranteed a place in the USA 7s CRC in June, as has been the case the last two years. Regardless, at least 27 teams are set to compete, including a few from Canada.
The tournament expanded its men’s brackets this year, putting in a King’s level between Aces and Open. However, it seems like most teams have made the choice for Aces or Open, and so teams that registered for Kings may well move to other brackets. But the Men’s Elite 7s has an impressive field of 16, with seven full national teams, two national development sides (France and USA), and select teams from the newly-named Olympic Development Programs, and elite programs in Canada, as well as a compilation side of military players.
The Women’s Elite 7s remains an excellent competition despite the fact that the IRB selected Houston as a stop on the new Women’s World Series, slated for the week before. The USA is entering two teams, as is Canada. Full national teams from Argentina, Japan, and Trinidad & Tobago join elite teams from Canada, Seattle, the military, and Atlantis.
The touch bracket is growing (six teams, at least, are expected), while the high school 7s and 15s brackets are almost all filled up.
The men’s college 15s challenge teams aren’t as numerous as last year, but they are of a high level, with Utah, Life, U. Victoria, Arizona, Texas A&M, Arizona State, and UC San Diego all pitching up.
According to tournament director Jon Hinkin, there remains room in the Women’s Open 7s (oddly one of the fastest brackets to fill up last year) with space still available for the young ages - Boys U16 and U14 7s. The Kings 7s Bracket (the third tier behind Elite and Aces, but above Open) also has plenty of space.
The Las Vegas Invitational is held just before and during the USA 7s international tournament in Las Vegas. The venues are near Sam Boyd Stadium – some right next door – and four of the LVI championship games are slated to be played in the stadium during the USA 7s weekend – Women Elite, Men’s Elite, Boys Elite, and Men’s Aces.
The tournament is present by Stations Casinos, which offers hotel rooms at a variety of locations starting at $42 a night. Go here for details on hotels.
Go here to register to play in the LVI; there is still room for just about every type of team, from U14 to Masters, Men, Women, Boys, Girls, and all level.