Hong Kong Sevens: Ireland’s dreams dashed by Japan
Anthony Eddy’s side miss out on place in next year’s elite series after last gasp loss in semis
Terry Kennedy and Bryan Mollen during Ireland’s quarter-final win over Zimbabwe. Photograph: Jayne Russell/Inpho
Ireland’s pursuit of a place in next year’s World Rugby Sevens series came to an agonising end as they were beaten 12-7 by Japan in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Sevens Repechage tournamnet.
Anthony Eddy’s side progressed to the last four on the back of four straight wins - including a comprehensive 38-5 quarter-final win over Zimbabwe.
But they were edged out by Japan - who scored their winning try with the last play of the game.
The two side’s were level at the break before Kosuke Hashino crossed in the seventh minute - but his converted score was cancelled out by Mark Roche in the 13th.
Roche then nearly won the game for Ireland with 14 seconds left - but he couldn’t gather his chip over the top and knocked the ball forward.
Japan kept the ball alive and went down the other end of the pitch to score through Kameli Raravou Soejima - breaking Irish hearts.
Japan went on to seal their place on next year’s elite circuit with a 19-14 win over Germany in the final.
Ireland now turn their attention to July’s World Cup in San Francisco.
Ireland team v Japan: Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell, Shane Daly, Hugo Keenan, James Leo O’Brien, Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche. Replacements: Will Connors, Bryan Mollen, Robert Baloucoune, Billy Dardis.