Rugby takes center stage next month in Las Vegas as teams from around the world gather for the USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament.
The action takes place Feb.8–10 at Sam Boyd Stadium on the eastern edge of the Las Vegas Valley and includes a variety of related events before, during and after the matches.
The game, which will return as an Olympic sport in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 for the first time since 1924, differs from traditional rugby in that teams of seven, instead of 15, compete in fast-paced matches consisting of seven-minute halves. The tournament will feature five to eight hours of play each day, with teams from 15 nations, from Argentina to South Africa to Wales, playing 45 matches over the three days.
“It’s a world series, literally,” said Dan Lyle, executive vice president of USA Sevens.
The game, popularized in Britain and its commonwealth countries, began in 1823 at a school in Rugby, England.
“[The boys] picked up a ball and ran with it, as opposed to kicking it, as a plaque at the school notes, ‘in fine disregard for the rules of the day,’” Lyle said.