By Natalie Wise, Vikes Communications
February 6, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – After taking a break from last year’s event, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team is once again returning to Las Vegas to gamble for a chance at first-place in the Las Vegas Sevens Invitational, Feb. 7-10.
Heralded as one of the largest rugby tournaments in North America, the Las Vegas Sevens Invitational has grown to include over 250 teams in multiple competitive divisions for men, women and youth. Two Vikes teams will be competing in two divisions, the men’s Aces 7’s division, against the top club sides from around the world, and the men’s College 7’s division against fellow university teams from across North America.
As Rugby Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Langford, B.C. is once against the host site of the Canadian University Sevens tournament in March, the Vikes are looking to the Las Vegas competition as preparation for another run at the title. The Vikes were the tournament’s inaugural winners in 2011.
“This tournament is a great place to see where we’re at for our guys that don’t usually play the sevens game,” said head coach of the Vikes rugby team, Doug Tate. “The competition should be pretty good but as always our goal is to take as many wins as we can and play in the final on Saturday.”
Exploding in popularity in recent years as a result of the announcement that sevens rugby has been added to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, the faster-paced version of the hard-hitting sport has seen a number of athletes make the transition from fifteens to sevens.
Vikes such as fourth-year Remi Anctil (Vancouver, BC), Jamie MacKenzie (Oakville, ON), Beau Parker (Vancouver, BC) and Patrick Kay (Duncan, B.C.) are all players that possess the necessary quickness to make the progression from fifteens rugby to sevens. Additionally, with MacKenzie, Parker and Kay all boasting previous international experience, albeit in fifteens, the Vikes’ odds look to be in their favour.
In Pool C in the College 7’s division, the Vikes are up against the University of Pittsburgh, New Mexico State University and Lindenwood University. In Pool C of the men’s Aces 7’s division the Vikes play the Fort Worth Bonobos, a side out of Texas, the Laie Lions travelling from Hawaii and California’s Oceanside RFC.
The first games for the two Vikes teams will be at 8:40 a.m. on Feb. 7 against New Mexico State University and the Fort Worth Bonobos at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium.