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For the USA’s men’s and women’s developmental 7s teams, the Las Vegas Invitational has provided the backdrop for the perfect weekend. They went a combined 12-0, claiming the titles of both the men’s and women’s elite divisions.
Though the end result was the same, the finals couldn’t have been more different. The women dominated Scion 36-0, while the men had to claw for a 21-17 comeback win over the UR7s Wanderers.
Alev Kelter got the scoring started in the second minute with a try she converted herself. She scored the next one, too, by taking an offload at midfield from Kiki Morgan and running away once more. With the kick, it was Kelter up 14-0 on Scion.
The underdogs mounted a threatening attack at the end of the first half, but the Falcons turned them back. The half would end with Scion knocking on. The next one started when Morgan made a breakaway and finished it off on her own this time. Conversion no good, 19-0.
Eti Haungatau crossed over next, and Jordan Matyas got the last one of the game, catching an offload from Kelter.
While the Falcons won, Chris Brown sprinkled his residency players throughout the division, helping bolster the other lineups. Joanne Fa’avesi was slated to be playing for Scion against her Eagle teammates, but she broke her nose, knocking her out of the competition.
Like the women, the men grabbed the lead early. Harley Wheeler put them five points to the good right off the first kick off. The Wanderers scored directly off the second kickoff, but the conversion was missed, leaving the Falcons up 7-5.
Wheeler added his second, extending the lead. Then, with seconds left in the first half, the Wanderers scored under the posts to cut the lead to 14-12 going into intermission.
The Wanderers added another try on the other side of halftime, grabbing a 17-14 lead. With two-and-a-half minutes left, Travion Clark scored his 11th try of the tournament, and perhaps the most important. He simply outpaced the Wanderers to the try line, delivering the win and $20,000 prize to the Falcons.