Las Vegas Invitational 2018

VEGAS 2018 … 80,000 steps (38 miles) ….. Conquered. ☺

BIG victory in front of a home crowd to our USA Eagles! Not only was it a great victory for our team and our country, it made for an amazing experience for our first time Vegas referees; Bouké, Reneé, and Rachael. In total, the Ohio Rugby Referee Society representatives ran approximately 152 miles and refereed 25 hours of sevens rugby!

Day 1 of the Las Vegas Invitational (LVI) event started with games kicking off at 8:00 am split between 11 fields; 34,000 steps later (16.4 miles), LVI Day 1 was in the bag. The after party hosted by the Ohio Referees was next on the cards. Now don’t let your minds get too crazy here, if you have never sprinted 16.4 miles, then you may be surprised to learn what a party after a day like this looks like: First a jacuzzi tub full of ice, then later a communal soak in warm water and epsom salts. Plus plenty of beer, crown royal, bourbon, vodka.……

LVI Day 2: Games kick off at 8:00 am! Field conditions… well, you be the judge! The Nevada sun long ago soaked up the green and moisture from the grass, but the players didn’t seem to mind. They were playing Sevens in March!

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Reneé met her all-time favorite rugby player, Todd Clever, and came away with a hug and a photo. He even watched her referee the next match. She spent the rest of the day with giant stars in her eyes.

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Bouké and André were photographed on The Rugby Breakdown reviewing game footage after the losing team contested the referee’s account of the score. The referee’s count was maintained.

LVI Day 2 was another long day – around 12 miles of running – and as soon as the last whistle was blown, we were off to the main stadium to watch international rugby at its best. We arrived at Sam Boyd Stadium with our free tickets in time to watch the USA Eagles take on Samoa.

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USA was on a roll, later on defeating Australia comfortably. A few brave souls jumped the fence and ran the field, yea never to be seen again as they were led away by our boys in blue. At the end of Day 2 we felt it wise to keep a low profile. Partying back at the Ohio Referees rooms sounded like the best plan.

LVI Day 3: Back to the fields for yet another 8:00am kick off. Day 3 sees all the finals
being played, so although lighter work at only 10miles of running, by now the feet, calves, hamstrings, and muscles you didn’t even know you had are crying for a break. Ohio again represented well with all four referees officiating in the center of a final match and one in particular being selected to run in a team of four with Leah Bernard to blow for the boys elite final.☺

With the LVI side of the event over we could now focus on the International stage, so again with our free tickets in hand we, rushed over to the main stadium to catch Day 2 of the International action.

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I felt it appropriate that during Day 3 I had to take all my American friends to experience some real South African food, so off to the “fan zone” it was for Bunny Chows.

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Now the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” always occurs on the Saturday night…why? Well because our jobs are done and that means no 8:00am start…..PAAARRRRTTTYYYYYYYY Vegas style! The theme for the night was “adorable” and the game was to take random selfies with other people, nudes count double points dugh! In the morning we would decide on a winner. Somehow, we lost all memory of the competition by morning. So you be the judge (some photos omitted because this is a family show):

Day 4 was a bit of a slow start to the day by hitting the breakfast buffet. Two for the price of one is always a favorite with referees. Then we were off to the main stadium to watch the final day of the international play. What a great day it was, watching our boys win this leg of the World Series in front of a home crowd. As the final whistle sounded USA over Argentina 28-0, the stands stormed the field! I tried to stop them and told them to behave and take the moral high ground and be shining examples to others…… no all lies, I think my feet hit the fields first as we cleared the railing and made a bee-line for our USA Squad. ☺ If you chat with any of the crowd that made it out to Vegas this year, they will all tell you, what a great way to end a fantastic weekend of rugby!

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Hopefully more of you good fine referees can join us next year for the 2019 LVI…I know I’m in!

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– Andre Bruwer, Ohio Rugby Referees Society CMO

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