Australia thrill fans at Paradise Elementary School in Vegas

by Staff Writer

It's just over 48 hours until the Qantas Australian Men's side begin their assault on the Las Vegas Sevens - and the team have been entertaining the local schoolchildren as they prepare for the tournament.

As part of a community engagement initiative, USA Rugby Sevens has launched its 'Adopt-a-Country' program. USA Rugby Sevens has paired 16 local schools with the 16 countries competing at the weekend event in Las Vegas - the aim being to teach pupils about their assigned country's cultures, customs and geography.

The Australian side were paired with Paradise Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada, with players and staff introduced to the children in an assembly before the youngsters conversed with the players individually to demonstrate everything they learned about the country of Australia.

Kelly Burton, Community Outreach Director, USA Sevens Rugby, said: "We have based this initiative on the Hong Kong Sevens and is always very popular with the schoolchildren. On Day Two of the tournament, we take schoolchildren from each of the 16 schools to the game where they not only cheer for the United States, but also their adopted team. It creates a fantastic atmosphere in the stadium!

"The players and staff from Australia were fantastic. You would never have guessed they'd had just had a long flight as they were so playful and nice with the kids, giving them a day they would never forget."

Australian Men's Team Manager Luca Liussi said: "We all enjoyed the visit. It is always a humbling experience for the team to see the effort the whole school puts into learning about our Australian culture and our sport. There was such great energy from the happy faces to start our week in Vegas."

Qantas Australian Men's Head Coach Geraint John has named an unchanged squad from the side that finished sixth in Wellington last weekend with skipper Ed Jenkins set to win the 36th cap for his country.

In Australia, all of the action from Las Vegas will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS 2 (Saturday 11am-5pm AEDT, Sunday 6am-2pm AEDT, Monday 5am-11.15am AEDT).

Check out some more of the photos from Australia's visit to Paradise Elementary School on the official Twitter account for the Australian national Sevens teams - @Aussie7s.

Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens fixtures for Las Vegas, USA on 14-16 February:

Australia v Brazil, Pool D, 1.34pm (AEDT), 14 February

Australia v France, Pool D, 4.30pm (AEDT), 14 February

Australia v Scotland, Pool D, 8.52am (AEDT), 15 February

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