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One of the special aspects of the Las Vegas Invitational, presented by Stations Casinos, is that teams can select their level of play.

For the Canadian-based Dog River Howlers, that proved especially valuable, as program director Karl Fix was able to run his developmental and U19 teams on the pitch in different brackets, and his top side in the Elite 7s against teams such as France Development, Kamikaze, and Chile.

“The level of competition was great for us,” said Fix. “Playing against national team-level players, and then to stay for the USA 7s and see the real deal, it was perfect. Players can learn from playing, and then learn from watching. I thought in our competition, we could be in for a rude awakening, but there were no blowouts, we were competitive, so I was really pleased.”

After the games were done, the Howlers were able to let their hair down a little in Las Vegas.

“What better city can you go to to play rugby and have a little fun?” said Fix. “I think, over time, the USA 7s will surpass Hong Kong. Last Vegas is cheap to get to, we get this great festival around the big tournament – play some good rugby and then go see the national teams. What I also found was this is a real meeting place for coaches. All around it was a great experience for us.”

Teams that pre-registered for the Las Vegas Invitational have until November 11, 2011 to confirm their reservation and ensure a place in the LVI, along with deals form Stations Casinos and USA 7s tickets.

After that date, their reserved spot might be lost.

The LVI Presented by Stations Casinos, , expects over 200 teams this coming February.