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Rugby players host clinic at Nellis AFB

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Two of the world's top Rugby Sevens players visited the Nellis Warrior Fitness Center to host a rugby skills camp for youth and military members on Feb. 6.

Rugby Sevens is a variant of traditional rugby; teams are made up of seven players on each side, instead of the 15-a-side game. Sevens matches are shorter, with a faster pace and more frequent scoring since the defenders have more space between them.

Approximately 40 third grade students from Lomie Heard Elementary School participated in a children's clinic.

"Rugby is a good opportunity for kids to get exercise," said Vaha Esikia from the Las Vegas Rugby Academy and a former center for the USA Eagles Sevens team. "We teach the basic skills of the game and foster development and team work in a fun learning environment."

After the children's clinic, 80 players and coaches from all branches of the U.S. armed forces attended a training clinic hosted by Ben Golings, England Sevens and the number one points scorer in the world, and Waisale Serevi, the acclaimed top player in the world, from the Fijian Sevens Team.

"People who want to learn the game of rugby will get better, you must practice hard to get ahead because there is a lot of competition," Serevi said, "I want to thank you all for your service and wish you the best in your rugby career."

The intense two-hour training session focused on physical endurance, core rugby skills and taught players how vital communication is on the field.

"For 35 Air Force players this weekend's Las Vegas Invitational serves as a tryout venue and ultimately we will select 15 to 20 players who will represent the Air Force in the armed forces tournament this summer," said Andy McQuade, U.S. Air Force's Sevens coach. "This civilian tournament is exactly what we need to test ourselves to see how we do."

McQuade added, "Having Serevi here today to develop military players is a testament to the popularity of the sport and the strides being made in advance of the 2016 Olympic Games. It's an exciting time to be in rugby."

This weekend service members who attended the clinic can implement what they learned as more than 10,000 athletes will participate in the Las Vegas Invitational Tournament. The tournament is the premier amateur rugby event in the United States and will be held in conjunction with the USA Sevens international rugby tournament at Sam Boyd Stadium.

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