Terry Kennedy looking to put Tokyo disappointment behind him in Dubai

Megan Burns glad to have the 15s stars on board despite code-switching controversy

Terry Kennedy in action against Kenya at the Olympics. Photograph: John Cowpland/Inpho

Terry Kennedy will be looking to leave a somewhat bittersweet experience at the Tokyo Olympics behind him when the Ireland Men's Sevens get their latest World Series campaign underway in Dubai this weekend.

Taking place across Friday and Saturday, this is the first of 10 rounds on the global circuit that Kennedy and his international team-mates will compete in over the next six months.

While five of the squad that featured in the Japanese capital during the past summer – where Ireland finished a disappointing 10th – have since moved on to pastures new, Kennedy remains a vital cog in the IRFU’s Sevens programme.

“It is a progression stage and a transition stage. It will be interesting to see how we go, but it’s great for the new lads to get an opportunity to play on the world stage. Dubai is a great place to start,” Kennedy remarked.


“We went over there [Tokyo] with high expectations and hopes of potentially causing an upset. That side was disappointing, but so proud and honoured to have been over there and representing Team Ireland.”

Although they will kickstart the new World Series season behind closed doors, spectators will be permitted for the second leg of the Dubai Sevens that is due to be held on the following weekend (December 3rd-4th).

As pleasing as it is for Kennedy to be back on this circuit, he also has his eye on reaching next year's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town. Having featured prominently for his country at the most recent edition of the tournament in San Francisco three years ago, the St Mary's College club man will be eager to book a ticket to the South African city.

“The last one we played in San Francisco was incredible and Cape Town was probably my favourite stop on the World Series in 2019 so I’d love to get the opportunity to play there again. The South African fans there are just rugby mad. They make it a pretty special occasion,” Kennedy added.

Given both legs of the Dubai 7s are combined events, this weekend will also see the Ireland Women’s Sevens beginning their World Series odyssey.

New head coach Aidan McNulty is able to call upon the services of Beibhinn Parsons, Eve Higgins, Stacey Flood and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe after they were released from the international 15s set-up in the aftermath of last Friday week's defeat of the USA in the RDS. The shifting of players between both codes remains a thorny subject within the women's game, but sevens star Megan Burns is glad to have this influential quartet on board for the trip to Dubai.

“I think coming back from the 15s, they’ve definitely brought more experience and knowledge of the game. I think that will benefit us and I think it has been a seamless changeover. It’s great to finally get back to Dubai. It’s always a good one. We’re just excited to get back onto the field and hopefully get the performances we want,” Burns said.