Of all the brackets at the Las Vegas Invitational the Boys High School Elite bracket could be considered the most compelling. By and large it features tight matches with great athletes. There are certainly favorites in the competition but it wouldn’t be surprising to see an unheralded team make it all the way to the final. Most of the teams from last year return, including teams from British Columbia, Ontario, Washington, and the High School All-Americans.
The bracket is interesting because the teams are evenly divided between teams from the U.S. and Canada. Canada has traditionally taken their 7s development very seriously, especially in British Columbia. The teams from B.C. have been one of the best in North America over the last few years and that is expected to continue this tournament. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that both teams from BC make the Cup semi-finals.
Pool A: British Columbia 1, High School All-Americans 2, Upright Rugby Rogues, Ontario, Washington Loggers
As we just mentioned, British Columbia should be one of the teams to beat in Pool A. BC has tried to evenly split their teams between one and two so both should be very strong. The High School All-Americans have tried to do similarly but with the team in Pool B having a slight edge. The LVI is just part one of the HSAA’s plan this year. They plan on having another tournament in England later this year and this weekend will serve as a selection vehicle.
The Upright Rugby Rogues are a team made up of players from the Upright Rugby Academy, which is a Canadian-based youth organization similar to Play Rugby USA and other groups. They have been working with a lot of kids in Ontario. Speaking of Ontario, they are also in the pool. Ontario faces limitations in comparison to BC when it comes to putting select 7s teams together but every year they are contenders. The Washington Loggers are easy to write off but that would be a mistake. There has been a lot of talent to come out of Washington State lately and with more and more youth playing rugby in the state every year they could be the real dark horse of the tournament.
In the end expect BC 1, HSAA 2, and Ontario to contend for the two semi-final spots.
Pool B: High School All-Americans 1, British Columbia 2, Atlantis, Toronto, Nor Cal All-Stars
We’ve already touched on the HSAA’s and BC but don’t assume that they are automatically going to grab the top two spots. Make no mistake, they are the favorites but Atlantis, Toronto, and Nor Cal are all capable. Toronto will comprise a lot of the players that weren’t on the Ontario squad while Atlantis will have many players from the U.S. East Coast. Nor Cal is another talent rich area so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them unearth a few gems.
The top two teams from each pools advance to the Cup semi-finals. Teams 3 and 4 advance to the Plate while the last place teams in each pool will square off on the final day.