Three reasons to watch rugby this weekend (even if you don’t understand the rules)

South African player Cecil Afrika gets hit by New Zealand players Tim Mikkelson and Ambrose Curtis during the Cup Final match of the USA 7’s rugby tournament at Sam Boyd Stadium on Sunday afternoon. South Africa won the match 14-7.
Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie / Special to the Sun

The HSBC Sevens World Series is circling the globe again, pitting teams from 18 nations against one another in fast-paced, full-contact, seven-a-side rugby matches that make for some fine spectating. Even if you don’t know your hookers from your scrums, it’s worth the trip to Sam Boyd to take in the chaos of this hard-partying tournament.

1. The crowd. Drunk Jesus, Hello Kitty and an elephant walk into a stadium … Forget football fans and painted faces, rugby devotees treat this tourney like Halloween, with costumes that evoke national pride or utter nonsense and drinking until they become as entertaining as the action on the field. Wherever you sit, expect to join in with the chants and cheers of people who actually know what’s going on. USA’s not going to win this thing, might as well join Team Fiji.

2. The food. We’re not saying you should spend the entire tournament in the fan festival area sampling snacks from the competing countries, but if you eat so many Kenyan samosas and New Zealand meat pies that you need to bask in a righteously international food coma, we’ll totally understand.

3. The rugby. Like your team sports fast and furious? Each 14-minute match is packed with relentless action, brilliant sprints, brutal hits and plenty of scoring. The talent on display is top-notch, so even if you don’t speak fluent rugby, you’ll appreciate the pure athleticism tearing up the pitch.

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