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Photos: USA Sevens Rugby records set; Samoa defeats defending champ N.Z.

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South Africa’s Frankie Horne plants the ball in the goal area during the USA Sevens Rugby tournament at Sam Boyd Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012. Fiji beat South Africa 21-15 to earn third place.
Photo: Steve Marcus

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USA Sevens Rugby Tournament

2012 USA Sevens Rugby: Parade of Nations at Fremont Street Experience

All previous attendance records were shattered for the 2012 USA Sevens Rugby international tournament Thursday through Sunday at Sam Boyd Stadium, with rugby and Las Vegas proving to be a perfect match with a three-day tally of 64,551 fans. In fact, the 30,323 attending Saturday was the largest crowd to ever attend a rugby game in the U.S.; another 23,617 turned up for Sunday’s semifinals and finals.

It was the third consecutive year for the rugby matches in Las Vegas. “We brought USA Sevens to Las Vegas because there was a feeling that this city was the perfect international backdrop for our diverse fan base,” said Jon Prusmack, owner and CEO of USA Sevens LLC. “Ten years ago, when we took over operations of the tournament, we had a vision to grow rugby in the United States. This weekend’s record-breaking attendance figures prove that vision has become a reality.”

Fans, among them Pittsburgh Steelers star Troy Polamalu, enjoyed 45 matches during the three-day competition among 16 teams, including the U.S.; USA Sevens is the fifth of nine stops on the international HSBC Sevens World Series world tour. After a thrilling championship match, which came down to the final play, Samoa emerged as the champions with a 26-19 victory over defending champion New Zealand.

Editor Don Chareunsy attended Saturday’s record-breaking day and said that it was one of the most fun live sporting events he has ever attended and that he is now a USA Sevens Rugby fan. One team donned pink-and-white uniforms with matching pink-and-white-striped socks because “real men wear pink,” Don said.

“The action on the field was fast-paced and exciting, and these rough-and-tumble athletes have muscular thighs the size of tree trunks! The fans from around the world couldn’t have been friendlier, and they are welcome back to Las Vegas any time.”

Don summed up, “I can’t wait for USA Sevens Rugby to return to Las Vegas.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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