AZ Select Side attending the Las Vegas Invitational event participating in the fifteen a side division.
Traveled with 23 players to Las Vegas on Wednesday evening, two additional players joined the group on Thursday flying into Las Vegas. The two fifteen passenger vans pulled into Sams Town near Sam Boyd stadium just after 11pm local time.
We won all three matches with pretty big margins and I can tell you we raised some eyebrows. I received very positive comments from spectators, referees and other teams praising us on the style and brand of rugby displayed. The players did their part on and off the field behaving themselves exceptionally well on Wednesday and Thursday evening by showing commitment to the task at hand.
Team captains (Danny Bell captain and vice-captains PJ Rovinelli and John Rouff ) were very influential in keeping the group together and focused. Tim Moran arranged a private and enjoyable team dinner on Thursday evening at Mandalay bay.
Game 1: Thursday at noon: AZ Selects 59 – 10 Kalihi Raiders Rugby Club (Hawaii)
Game 2: Friday at 8:00am: AZ Selects 105 – 12 Portland Pigs
Game 3: Friday at 10:40am: AZ Selects 75 – 7 All Murrays Selects (New Mexico)
On the field it is hard to single out players but I want to acknowledge a handful who made big contributions on the playing field:
1. Setone (aka “T”) was unstoppable and a try scoring machine with 10 total tries.
2. Danny Bell played every single minute and led the team exceptionally well.
3. Halfbacks Adrian Taefu and Steve Garcia started every match. They controlled things well and created opportunity for the team by staying disciplined and getting the forwards involved in our multiphase game plan.
4. Chris Iosefo was very composed on attack and generally ensured going forward ball from set pieces with hard yards at times.
5. Well balanced back row dominated the breakdown and took space away from the opposing backs with strong contributions from PJ, Austin, Sawyer and Luke.
6. Last but not least, our set pieces (scrums and lineouts) were outstanding and the tight five created a solid platform to initiate our attacks.
Hopefully these players will take the experience and knowledge back to their respective teams. I know the players displayed great camaraderie and believe they will show respect towards each other going forward. (please review the spreadsheet containing the match stats for each game)
I will start to craft a plan for review at the AGM but my current thought process is to invite a division I team to play us at home next season, more to follow.
Also want to thank, Junior Faasoo (head coach), Tim Moran and Brad Filgas for their time and commitment to improve and growth the program.
Proud ARU President