From one Vegas to another, it was a big weekend for the sport of Sevens Rugby.
While the best of the best battled it out among the bright lights of Las Vegas, a little closer to home a select group rugby players from across NSW and even Queensland converged on Dubbo for the Dubbo Roos Sevens.
After a day of brilliant football, it was Sydney Nadi Rugby Club that walked away as the big winners, beating Campbelltown Harlequins in the Cup final.
In the Plate section of the draw it was the Charging Llamas, a side who honoured Jake Walton, who won the day, beating Dubbo Roos in the final.
Roos stalwarts Simon Murphy and Benn Wright organised the event, and said the second edition had continued the work done in 2017’s inaugural running of the competition.
“Sevens is a growing sport. There’s no doubt about that,” Murphy said.
“It’s been on the rise for a while but the success Australia had at the Olympics a couple of years ago realised legitimised it for a lot of people, and we’re looking to build on that out this way.
“There are genuine pathways now in Sevens Rugby. Everyone wants to go to the Olympics so to be able to go there and play footy has made it a sport people want to be involved in.”
The late withdrawal of one team meant nine squads went around in this year’s event.
And while no womens sides competed, Murphy believes the competition usurped 2017.
“We had the girls involved lat year, and we opened it up again this year but only two teams nominated which made it very hard,” he said.
“Benn and I will meet in the next couple of weeks and look at what we want to do with next year’s event and getting the girls involved again will definitely be on the radar.
“We’ll also look at making some tiers for invitational sides and club sides, just to balance it out a bit.
“The Sydney Nadi side are an invitational group made up of some Fijian guys who travel around to different events.
“As we know the Fijians are really suited to Sevens but the final between them and the Harlequins was a terrific game
“Overall though, the standard was very good through the day and being able to take it through into the evening and have the final under lights made it better again I think.”
While the Nadi stole the show with their win in the Cup, Murphy was full of praise for the Charging Llamas side as well.
The group was made up of mates of Jake Walton, and they observed a minute’s silence prior to taking the field in honour of him.
There was even a motivational video doing the rounds on social media in the build-up from cult figure Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins directed to the players as well as Jake’s family.
“That was pretty special,” Murphy said.
“Josh Exner organised that side and Jake was supposed to play. They performed well and I think everyone was glad to see that.”