Ireland can secure place at Rugby Sevens World Cup

Anthony Eddy’s squad travel to Sandy Park with place in San Francisco on the line

Ireland sevens captain Billy Dardis. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ireland sevens captain Billy Dardis. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team will go to Sandy Park in Exeter on Saturday and Sunday week with an opportunity to earn a place at the Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco next summer.

Anthony Eddy’s Irish squad won the third leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series in Clermont at the weekend to complement their victory in Moscow earlier in the season. The upshot of their latest success is that they have booked a place in next year’s HSBC World Series qualifying tournament in Hong Kong.

They will be hoping to emulate Spain, whom they beat in the semi-final at the weekend, as the Spanish squad won the Hong Kong qualifier in April to regain their place on the elite World Series circuit next season.

The top two countries from the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series earn a place in Hong Kong and Ireland have already accumulated 56 points over the three tournaments. Germany are next best on 34 points while Italy in third place (22) cannot now catch Ireland with one leg of the series to go.

It’s a little closer in relation to qualification for the Rugby Sevens World Cup next summer in San Francisco. Ireland lead the way on 56 points but Russia (54) and Spain (52) will dispute the two European places available for those countries who have not already automatically qualified for the global tournament.

Unbeaten

The Irish squad won all six of their matches in Clermont, including a 7-5 quarter-final win over hosts France, a 17-5 triumph over Spain in their penultimate match and then beat Russia 17-14 in the final. The Russian squad had beaten Ireland in the semi-final of the previous tournament in Lodz, Poland.

Ireland lost Clontarf wing Mick McGrath to a knee injury in their first game of Clermont tournament and he was unable to play again over the two days. UCD’s Harry McNulty scored the all-important try against France, converted by Billy Dardis, before the match ended in something of a farce.

Ireland kicked the ball out of play believing the quarter-final to be over but there was an issue with the match clock and it was reset to show time remaining. The French won the lineout but a midfield knock-on scuppered the hopes of the home side.

Buccaneers’ wing Jordan Conroy, who had an outstanding tournament, scored a brilliant individual try in the semi-final with Fionn Carr and Mark Roche also crossing the Spanish line; Dardis added a conversion as Ireland beat Spain 17-5.

Conroy was to prove Ireland’s match winner again in the final with a brace of tries to go with one from Ulster academy prospect, Nick Timoney, Dardis adding a single conversion in what proved to be a topsy-turvy affair. The Irish side led 10-0, trailed 14-10 before coming out on top 17-14.

Ireland squad: Fionn Carr (Naas), Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers/Connacht), Billy Dardis (UCD, capt), Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster), Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster), Mick McGrath (Clontarf), Harry McNulty (UCD), John O’Donnell (Lansdowne), Greg O’Shea (Shannon/Munster), Mark Roche (Lansdowne), Josh Rowland (Buccaneers), Nick Timoney (QUB/Ulster).

Results:

Ireland 28 Belgium 5: Mick McGrath, Harry McNulty, Hugo Keenan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Jordan Conroy, Fionn Carr, Billy Dardis (capt). Replacements: Nick Timoney, Greg O’Shea, John O’Donnell, Josh Rowland, Mark Roche.

Scorers: Ireland: Tries: McGrath, Fitzpatrick, McNulty, Roche; Cons: Dardis 3, Roche.

Ireland 35 Italy 0: Nick Timoney, Harry McNulty, Hugo Keenan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Jordan Conroy, Fionn Carr, Billy Dardis (capt). Reps: Greg O’Shea, John O’Donnell, Josh Rowland, Mark Roche.

Scorers: Ireland: Tries: McNulty, Conroy, Keenan, Timoney, O’Shea; Cons: Dardis 5

Ireland 21 Wales 5: Nick Timoney, Harry McNulty, Hugo Keenan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Jordan Conroy, Fionn Carr, Billy Dardis (capt). Replacements: Greg O’Shea, John O’Donnell, Josh Rowland, Mark Roche.

Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Carr 2, J Rowland; Cons: Dardis 3

Ireland 7 France 5: Nick Timoney, Harry McNulty, Hugo Keenan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Greg O’Shea, Fionn Carr, Billy Dardis (capt). Replacements: Jordan Conroy, John O’Donnell, Josh Rowland, Mark Roche.

Scorers: Ireland: Try: McNulty; Con: Dardis

Ireland 17 Spain 5: Nick Timoney, Harry McNulty, Hugo Keenan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Jordan Conroy, Fionn Carr, Billy Dardis (capt). Replacements: Greg O’Shea, John O’Donnell, Josh Rowland, Mark Roche.

Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Conroy, Carr, Roche; Con: Dardis

Ireland 17 Russia 14: Nick Timoney, Harry McNulty, Hugo Keenan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Jordan Conroy, Fionn Carr, Billy Dardis (capt). Replacements: Greg O’Shea, John O’Donnell, Josh Rowland, Mark Roche.

Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Conroy 2, Timoney; Con: Dardis

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