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RWC Sevens: Constable Banking On Enthusiasm

RWC Sevens: Constable Banking On Enthusiasm

Former Ulster centre Ryan Constable is just hours away from leading his young Ireland Sevens side out at the fourth Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong.

Former Ulster centre Ryan Constable is just hours away from leading his young Ireland Sevens side out at the fourth Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong.

Qualified by virtue of last year’s European tournament in Mallorca, Ireland have been drawn in a pool with 2001 champions New Zealand, but Constable, 33, knows anything is possible in the Sevens game.

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“We’ve had a fairly limited preparation but what we have got is a very enthusiastic young bunch of guys who really want to get out there and experience what playing sevens in Hong Kong in a Rugby World Cup is all about,” admitted Constable, who took over the Ireland coaching reins from Denis McBride last year.

“We do lack experience at the top level and it would be naive to think we could bridge that gap within a couple of tournaments but the players will give it everything they’ve got and there’ll be a lot of enthusiasm out there.”

Captained by Belfast Harlequins fly-half Ian Humphreys – younger brother of Irish international David – this current Ireland side have picked off three heartening wins at December’s IRB series events in Dubai and George.

With that experience, Constable – a former Australian Sevens international – knows his charges have the ability to spring a surprise.

“It’s the nature of the game – with Sevens, anything is possible,” he added. “With not being involved on the circuit for a few years, hopefully we can bring that surprise element to our game.

“There’s a feel good factor with Irish rugby at the moment, with the side doing well in the Six Nations. We’ve performed well at the previous warm-up tournaments – and while not getting results – individual performances were very credible and it’s up to us to build on those performances and bring some results to the fore in the World Cup.”

Their Pool A campaign starts in the early hours of Friday morning (Irish time) with ties against Scotland, the all-conquering Kiwis and the USA. irishrugby.ie will keep you posted on their progress throughout the weekend.

RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS: Friday, March 18 – Sunday, March 20
Hong Kong Stadium, Happy Valley, Hong Kong

Pool A: New Zealand, Scotland, Tonga, Ireland, Korea, USA

Pool B: England, Samoa, France, Italy, Georgia, Chinese Taipei

Pool C: Fiji, Australia, Canada, Portugal, Japan, Hong Kong

Pool D: Argentina, South Africa, Kenya, Tunisia, Russia, Uruguay

Friday: Pool matches: (all times Irish (Hong Kong GMT +8 hours))

02.49am: Pool A – Ireland v Scotland

08.41am: Pool A – New Zealand v Ireland
11.52am: Pool A – Ireland v USA

Saturday: Pool matches:

03.26am: Pool A – Ireland v Korea
09.47am: Pool A – Tonga v Ireland

Sunday: Knock-out stages:

02.30am – 11.00am: Bowl, Plate, Melrose Cup quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals


(1) Mark Bruce (Loughborough University)

(2) Kevin Croke (UCD) *
(3) David Hewitt (Clontarf)

(4) Tomas O’Leary (Dolphin)
(5) Ian Humphreys (Belfast Harlequins) (Capt)
(6) Andy Maxwell (Ballymena)
(7) Michael McComish (Ballymena)

(8) Martin McPhail (UL Bohemians)
(9) James Norton (UCD)
(10) Brendan O’Connor (Cork Constitution) *
(11) Niall Ronan (Lansdowne)

(12) Brian Tuohy (Shannon) *


Ryan Constable (Coach)

George Spotswood (Manager)
Ailbe McCormack (Physio)

* denotes new cap

2004/05 Record:

Dubai Sevens: Shield final: Ireland 5 Tunisia 17
George Sevens, South Africa: Bowl semi-final: Canada 24 Ireland 19

IRB Sevens ’05: Matches Played: 11; Won: 3; Drawn 1; Lost 7
Points Scored: 192; Conceded: 267
Tries Scored: 32; Conceded: 43
Top Points Scorer: Ian Humphreys 52
Top Try Scorer: Mark Bruce 4 (Dubai), Tomas O’Leary 5 (George)