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When United World Sports moved the USA Sevens from Los Angeles to San Diego in 2006, it decided to add on an ancillary event for clubs and colleges called the San Diego Invitational. The matches were played on fields situated away from Petco Park, the Padres baseball stadium that housed the big sevens tournament.
After three-years in San Diego, the Invitational followed the USA Sevens by moving to Las Vegas where, in 2009, witnessed the start of the Las Vegas Invitational (LVI) played on fields abutting Sam Boyd Stadium. Now, these amateur rugby matches could be seen by all those attending the USA Sevens.
After ten-years, the LVI has become the largest rugby event in this hemisphere, welcoming sides from the USA, Canada (about 30%), and a few foreign squads as well. At this year’s event, teams are coming from Japan, and first-time visits from Nigeria and the Dominican Republic.
As the premiere attended rugby invitational in the USA, it has earned a deserved reputation as a well-organized, efficient, and fun event.
The LVI runs mostly sevens with a sprinkling of fifteens contests. The jewels in the crown are the Women’s and Men’s Elite events, featuring top sides from around the globe. In 2008, SCION from the DC area won the Women’s Division, while Japan SDS, a developmental side, won the Men’s Elite.
One of the highlight divisions is the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) qualifier, where the final is played inside Sam Boyd Stadium. This year, the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) will also operate a CRC qualifier at the LVI.
More than 75 referees work the three-day (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) affair, coming from as far away as the Middle East,
All the teams stay at the Westgate Hotel on the Strip, which offers a significant discount for rooms and for tickets to the USA Sevens tournament.
In 2008, women’s clubs represented 95 of the 270-total club registration.
In 2011, 120 teams came to play, and this number has more than doubled to last year’s record setting 270 high school, college, and club participation. The 2009 LVI action begins Thursday February 28th at fields next to Sam Boyd Stadium.
(Interested in bringing a team to this year's LVI tournament? Email the Director at firstname.lastname@example.org)