Ireland’s Sevens squads get tough draws for Paris Olympics

Men’s squad to face New Zealand, South Africa and Japan, women will take on Australia, Great Britain and South Africa in pool stages

Ireland's Chay Mullins in action against New Zealand in the Singapore Sevens earlier this year. Photograph: Joe Hamby/Inpho

Ireland have been drawn alongside number one seeds New Zealand, repechage winners, South Africa and Japan at the pool stages of the men’s Rugby Sevens in the Paris Olympics. Allan Temple’s women’s squad will have Australia, Great Britain and South Africa in their pool. The 12 qualifying countries have been drawn into three pools of four teams.

The Irish men’s squad, coached by James Topping, won their first ever victory over New Zealand earlier this season, 36-21 in Cape Town – Terry Kennedy scored a hat-trick of tries – while also running them close in the Singapore Cup final and the Madrid Grand Final, going down 17-14 and 22-17 respectively.

Ireland, who finished a brilliant second in the World Series, have a strong record against South Africa this season. They won twice in Madrid last month to make it five wins in six meetings with the Blitzboks, their most in a single Sevens Series. Ireland last played Japan in 2023 and beat them 40-7.

The men’s competition takes place from July 24th-27th while the women’s event will be staged from the 28th-30th. The draw for the match schedule will take place at a later date.


The women’s squad beat Britain and hosts Australia on their way to winning a first ever World Series title in Perth during this season’s World Series. They also played both teams in Madrid recently, losing 33-14 to Australia but overcoming the GB outfit 20-0. Ireland have beaten South Africa on both occasions they met earlier this year.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer