Ireland lost their last pool game of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai, falling to a 17-5 defeat at the hands of Portugal. Despite a brave effort, the Portugese just had too much experience for the Ireland team.
2009 RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS: POOL D: Friday, March 6
IRELAND 5 PORTUGAL 17, Pitch 1, Dubai Sevens Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Paul Marshall
Portugal: Tries: Tiago Girao, Aderito Esteves, David Mateus; Con: Pedro Leal
Both sides looked cagey in the opening exchanges as Portugal, who had lost their previous two pool games, went in search of their first win of the tournament.
Some good early tackling from Ireland was cancelled out when a Felix Jones chip gave possession back to Portugal who worked the ball back up the pitch.
A break by David Mateus looked sure to come off but he was caught. From the ensuing ruck, Portugal had a two-on-one overlap and Tiago Girao went in for the opening try despite the best efforts of Paul Marshall.
Ireland kept their heads and as they probed the Portuguese line, Marshall slotted a kick through only to be tackled late by Joao Mirra who was quickly dispatched to the sin-bin.
From the penalty, Marshall fed James Coughlan, who ran gamely all day. Coughlan broke one tackle and offloaded back to Marshall who ran in for what proved to be Ireland’s only try of the game.
Ireland claimed the restart but quickly turned over the ball as tiredness started to set in. The half-time whistle came as a welcome relief for both sides.
Portugal coughed up an early penalty at the start of the second half but Ireland were unable to take advantage, losing the ball forward.
The Portuguese broke out from their own half and only an excellent cover tackle from Jones prevented them from scoring.
Portugal kept up the pressure, however, and threw themselves at the Ireland line.
Tired bodies on the line, the Irish covering tackles were brave but the pressure told as Aderito Esteves finally powered over. Pedro Leal added the conversion for a 12-5 lead.
Ireland were looking tired and stretched at this stage and the experience of Portugal began to tell as they kept the ball well.
Securing vital posession, Ireland kicked ahead but Portugal countered well and ran in for a third try to put 12 points between the sides.
A late surge from Ireland saw them come close to a consolation try but there was to be no fairytale ending as per the earlier game against Australia.
Jon Skurr’s charges, who have finished bottom of the Pool D table, will take on the Arabian Gulf, the tournament hosts, in tomorrow’s Bowl quarter-finals.
Zimbabwe v Georgia, Japan v Uraguay and Hong Kong v Italy are the other Bowl quarter-final ties.
IRELAND: Kyle Tonetti (Blackrock College – Leinster), James Coughlan (Dolphin – Munster), Paul Marshall (Belfast Harlequins – Ulster), Felix Jones (Old Belvedere – Leinster), Brian Carney (Clonakilty – Munster), Brian Tuohy (Cornish Pirates), Tom Gleeson (Cork Constitution – Munster).
Replacements: Eoghan Grace (Shannon – Munster), Kieran Campbell (Galwegians – Connacht), Conan Doyle (Garryowen – Munster), Daniel Riordan (Buccaneers – Connacht), Gary Brown (Blackrock College – Leinster).
PORTUGAL: Vasco Uva, Diogo Mateus, Tiago Girao, Pedro Leal, Joao Mirra, David Mateus, Goncalo Foro.
Replacements: Aderito Esteves, Pedro Cabral, Pedro Silva, Antonio Aguilar, Frederico Oliveira.
Referee: Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
Ireland Sevens Management –
Hugh McCaughey – Manager
Jon Skurr – Coach
Simon Harland – Physiotherapist
Fergal O’Callaghan – Fitness
Ashley Blair – Masseuse
Vinny Hammond – Video Analyst
Ireland Match Schedule Rugby World Cup Sevens –
Match Day 3:
Saturday, March 7, 2009 FINAL DAY
10.30pm Men’s Quarter-Finals
5.08pm Men’s Semi-Finals
6.30pm Men’s Bowl Final
7.30pm Men’s Plate Final
8.35pm Men’s Cup Final
9.30pm Closing Ceremony
* All times are local/Ireland is four hours behind