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The Men’s Elite 7s at the Las Vegas Invitational has become one of the highlights of the American Rugby Sevens calendar.
This year, 23 teams from around the USA and the world compete in a bracket that is below the level of the major internationals, but not far below.

Each of the six pools has four teams playing in a round-robin format, except for Pool B, which has three teams.

Heading up that competitive Pool B is the Northeast Olympic Development Academy. Players such as Nate Augspurger, Derek Lipscomb, Sean Rafferty, Jon Kokinda, and Jared Collinson lead an all-Northeast program that will field two squads in the Elite Division. Watch out also for former High School All Americans' Christian Adams. NE ODA faces a Mana Utah Selects team that is expected to be solid, and an Armed Forces team with high aspirations.

Pool A features Lionheart 7s, a touring side out of Edmonton, the Chilean national team, Azul y Negro out of Texas, and Hawaii’s Kalihi Raiders. It’s a team featuring skilled, experienced players, and teams of raw athleticism. Lionheart is probably the most polished team, but Chile could win the entire tournament.

In Pool C, Atlantis brings some national team aspirants from mostly the Mid-Atlantic region, but further afield as well. Atlantis is combining exceptional college talent with men’s players and raw athletes under the guiding hand of 7s guru Emil Signes. They take on the New Orleans Royale Selects, headed up by all-South-everything Jeff Reuther, the Peruvian national team, and cOUScOUs, which is essentially the Bahama national team. Speed and elusiveness against power and game plan.

Pool D you know has to be competitive when two national teams are perhaps the underdogs. Cayman Isles has speed, and Belgium has some international experience. But the Canadian development team, the Maple Leafs, while young, is enormously strong, and Zoo Sports Ronin is a semi-pro touring side out of England, and should be very solid.

Pool E features the defending champion Serevi Selects. With players such as Mike Palefau, Emosi Vucago, and Ben Gollings expected to play, they will be strong again – speedy, skilled, and experienced. The Northeast ODA 2 team is here, along with Trinidad & Tobago – another Caribbean team with tons of pace – and 1823 out of Columbus, Ohio. The 1823 team, part of the Tiger Rugby network, will be full of players hoping to push for a place on the US national team.

And then Pool F will include the USA Falcons, featuring players from the USA camp who didn’t make the full Eagles, like Pat Blair, Mike Ziegler, Madison Hughes, Eric Deuchle and more. They mix with the Mexican national team, which gets better and better and has been coming to the Las Vegas Invitational since it was the San Diego Invitational, the Chicago Lions, simply a club but a talented and well-stocked club, and The Selects.

The Selects is a team of current and former military players, along with some other recruits, under the coaching eye of former US Air Force Academy All Americans Josh Dean and Mike Hobson, with former Eagle Vaha Esikia also working with them. The Selects program, with four sides entered, has been in camp in Las Vegas since Sunday as players from across the country, and globe, get to know each other and the coaching staff. Watch out for Dennis Savello, who is a raw talent, but a good one, as well as USA Rugby South standout Ty Elkins and a trio of German national team players.

Right now the favorites in each pool look to be:
Chile, Northeast ODA, Atlantis, Maple Leafs, Serevi, USA Falcons

Look for Zoo Sports Ronin to push the Maple Leafs, and possibly beat them, and The Selects, New Orleans, Lionheart, Kalihi, and Armed Forces are all to be reckoned with.

Check RUGBYMag.com's YouTube Channel for video footage of many of the Men's Elite Day One Games.


Las Vegas Invitational Men's Elite 7s Pools and Day One Schedule


A
Lionheart 7's
Chile
Azul
Kalihi Raiders Rugby Club

C
Atlantis
New Orleans Royale Selects
Peru
cOUScOUS


E
Serevi Selects
Northeast ODA 2 (also listed as New York City 7s)
1823
Trinidad & Tobago

B
Northeast ODA
Mana Utah Selects
US Armed Forces

D
Zoo Sports Ronin
Maple Leafs
Cayman Islands
Belgium

F
US Falcons
Chicago Lions
Mexico
The Selects


Schedule for Friday, Jan 24 (All games at Star Nursery fields)

FIELD 24       
800    ME7    B2 v US Armed Forces
820    ME7    NE ODA v Mana Utah Selects
840    ME7    Atlantis v Peru
900    ME7    N.O. Royale Selects v cOUScOUS
920    ME7    Lionheart v Azul
940    ME7    Chile v Kalihi Raiders
1000    ME7    Zoo Sports Ronin v Cayman Is
1020    ME7    Maple Leafs v Belgium
1040    ME7    NE ODA v US Armed Forces
1100    ME7    B2 v Mana Utah Selects
1120    ME7    Atlantis v cOUScOUS
1140    ME7    N.O. Royale Selects v Peru
1200    ME7    Lionheart v Kalihi Raiders
1220    ME7    Chile v Azul
1240    ME7    Zoo Sports Ronin v Belgium
100    ME7    Maple Leafs v Cayman Islands
120    ME7    Northeast ODA v B2
140    ME7    Mana UT Sel v US Armed Forces
200    ME7    Atlantis v N.O. Royale Selects
220    ME7    Peru v cOUScOUS
240    ME7    Lionheart v Chile
300    ME7    Azul v Kalihi Raiders
320    ME7    Zoo Sports Ronin v Maple Leafs
340    ME7    Cayman Islands v Belgium

FIELD 25       
800    ME7    Serevi Selects v 1823
820    ME7    NYC 7s v Trinidad & Tobago
840    ME7    US Falcons v Mexico
900    ME7    Chicago Lions v The Selects
       
       
       
       
1040    ME7    Serevi Sel v Trinidad & Tobago
1100    ME7    NYC 7s v 1823
1120    ME7    US Falcons v The Selects
1140    ME7    Chicago Lions v Mexico
1200    MC15    Kalihi Raiders v AZ Select
       
       
       
       
140    ME7    Serevi Selects v NYC 7s
200    ME7    1823 v Trinidad & Tobago
220    ME7    US Falcons v Chicago Lions
240    ME7    Mexico v The Selects
       
       
       





A     B
Lionheart 7's    Northeast ODA
Chile    Mana Utah Selects
Azul    US Armed Forces
Kalihi Raiders Rugby Club    
    
C     D
Atlantis    Zoo Sports Ronin
New Orleans Royale Selects    Maple Leafs
Peru    Cayman Islands
cOUScOUS    Belgium
    
    
E    F
Serevi Selects    US Falcons
New York City 7s    Chicago Lions
1823    Mexico
Trinidad & Tobago    The Selects



FIELD 24            FIELD 25        
800    ME7    B2 v US Armed Forces    800    ME7    Serevi Selects v 1823
820    ME7    NE ODA v Mana Utah Selects    820    ME7    NYC 7s v Trinidad & Tobago
840    ME7    Atlantis v Peru    840    ME7    US Falcons v Mexico
900    ME7    N.O. Royale Selects v cOUScOUS    900    ME7    Chicago Lions v The Selects
920    ME7    Lionheart v Azul            
940    ME7    Chile v Kalihi Raiders             
1000    ME7    Zoo Sports Ronin v Cayman Is            
1020    ME7    Maple Leafs v Belgium            
1040    ME7    NE ODA v US Armed Forces    1040    ME7    Serevi Sel v Trinidad & Tobago
1100    ME7    B2 v Mana Utah Selects    1100    ME7    NYC 7s v 1823
1120    ME7    Atlantis v cOUScOUS    1120    ME7    US Falcons v The Selects
1140    ME7    N.O. Royale Selects v Peru    1140    ME7    Chicago Lions v Mexico
1200    ME7    Lionheart v Kalihi Raiders     1200    MC15    Kalihi Raiders v AZ Select
1220    ME7    Chile v Azul            
1240    ME7    Zoo Sports Ronin v Belgium            
100    ME7    Maple Leafs v Cayman Islands            
120    ME7    Northeast ODA v B2            
140    ME7    Mana UT Sel v US Armed Forces    140    ME7    Serevi Selects v NYC 7s
200    ME7    Atlantis v N.O. Royale Selects    200    ME7    1823 v Trinidad & Tobago
220    ME7    Peru v cOUScOUS    220    ME7    US Falcons v Chicago Lions
240    ME7    Lionheart v Chile    240    ME7    Mexico v The Selects
300    ME7    Azul v Kalihi Raiders             
320    ME7    Zoo Sports Ronin v Maple Leafs            
340    ME7    Cayman Islands v Belgium