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First-year 7s tournament the Best of the West is still in the planning stages, but looks like it could be the highlight of the summer 7s schedule in America.

What
An invitational 7s tournament that will feature 16 high-profile teams playing for $19,500 in prize money. The Cup winner takes home $10,000, the runner-up $3,500, the Plate winner $2,500, the Bowl winner $2,000 and the Shield winner $1,500.

Who
Tournament organizers have extended invites to numerous international, professional and club sides, and so far these are the teams who have been confirmed:

Old Puget Sound Beach
Pacific Coast Grizzlies
Belmont Shore
Aspen
American Samoa (Acceptance into IRB pending)
Bayside-Valley High (Canada)
US Military Selects (Georgia)
Dog River Howlers (Canada)
Fiji Ambassadors (Fiji/Canada)

Invites have been extended to these teams, as well:

Mexico
Philippines
Argentina
Uruguay
Life
Samoa
Glendale
Chicago Lions
Dallas Harlequins
South Africa
Canada  
Fiji
University of Utah
University of Victoria
Kenya
Japan

When
June 23-24, 2012

Where
Cowan Stadium at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Seattle, Wash.

Why
Tournament director and father of 7s Eagle Nu'u Punimata wanted to create a tournament that combined club and national sides, and he managed to find $17,000 in sponsorship, with considerable help from the Ft. Lewis-McChord Public Affairs Office, to be able to offer a prize purse enticing enough to attract some really quality teams.

“There isn't a signature event that has a Pacific Northwest signature that would bring those high-end caliber teams to compete and garner some substantial payoffs for their time and efforts,” said Punimata.

“The Pacific Northwest is a wonderful and beautiful area, especially in the summer, to visit. With rugby expanding, especially the 7s venues, more and more, the attempt here is establish a rugby venue that can become a signature event to highlight and showcase rugby talent from high school to college to club levels.”