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Ireland Men’s Sevens Training Squad Announced

Ireland Men’s Sevens Training Squad Announced

Anthony Eddy, the IRFU Director of Sevens Rugby, and coach Stan McDowell have confirmed an extended squad of players who will commence training this month ahead of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series which begins in June.

The Ireland Men’s Sevens squad will compete in the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series for the first time this season, having won the Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy last year.

Working from the Ireland Rugby Sevens base on Lansdowne Road, the squad will prepare for the series where they will play teams from across Europe, including the likes of England, Scotland, Wales, France and Russia, who are all currently competing on the World Rugby Sevens Series circuit.

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There are two big opportunities for the Ireland Sevens side this season. They will be looking to claim a place at the Hong Kong Sevens Repechage next year, where the winners of that tournament will qualify for the World Rugby Sevens Series for the 2018/19 season.

They can achieve this by finishing as one of the top two-placed teams (outside of those who are not already a core team on the series) over the course of the European Grand Prix Series.

The second big opportunity is qualification for the Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco next summer. The Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series offers two places to nations outside of those who are already pre-qualified from the 2013 Moscow World Cup or via this season’s World Series.

The European sides who have already qualified are England, Wales and France, while Scotland look set to gain a spot via this season’s World Series.

Russia are the only European side on the series who are outside of automatic qualification, so they, along with the likes of Spain, Germany, Portugal and Georgia, look set to be Ireland’s main competition for the top two places.

The selected Irish squad brings together players from a range of rugby backgrounds, including provincial Academy players, club players and dedicated Sevens players.

Will Connors, Shane Daly, Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy and Jimmy O’Brien were all part of the Ireland Under-20 squad that finished as runners-up at the World Rugby U-20 Championship in Manchester last June.

The likes of Aaron Cairns, Ian Fitzpatrick (pictured above), Adam Leavy, Josh Rowland and Nick Timoney have all played with their provincial ‘A’ teams this season, with Cairns, Timoney and Rowland also making appearances in the GUINNESS PRO12 with their respective provinces.

Jordan Conroy, who scored 18 tries for Ulster Bank League Division 1B champions Buccaneers this season and is the newly-crowned Connacht Senior Club Player of the Year, is included along with his Buccaneers club-mate Shane Layden.

Layden is one of seven players in the squad who competed at the Olympic Repechage in Monaco last season, the others being Fitzpatrick, Rowland, UCD duo Billy Dardis and Harry McNulty, Clontarf’s prolific winger Mick McGrath, and Steve Toal-Lennon who is currently focused solely on Sevens rugby.

Speaking about the squad announcement, Anthony Eddy said: “We’re very happy with the squad that we’ve selected for what will be a busy summer of Sevens rugby. The group is very much focused and they understand the challenges ahead – they are very ambitious and we will be working hard to achieve our goals for the season
 
“We’ve seen the how the game of Sevens can benefit players in the 15s game, with the likes of Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Barry Daly and Tom Daly in Leinster and Dan Goggin and Alex Wootton in Munster all progressing well at their provinces, having been a part of the Sevens programme last season.”
 
The first round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series takes place in Moscow on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, and Ireland will face Wales, Germany and Georgia in Pool A.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (Summer 2017):

David Busby (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Aaron Cairns (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Fionn Carr (Naas)
Will Connors (UCD/Leinster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Billy Dardis (UCD)
Evan Dixon (Dublin University)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Ned Hodson (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Conor Kelly (Queen’s University/Ulster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Shane Layden (Buccaneers)
Adam Leavy (Galwegians/Connacht)
Conor Lowndes (Galwegians/Connacht)
Mick McGrath (Clontarf)
Steve McMahon (Garryowen/Munster)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University)
Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
James O’Donovan (Dublin University)
Ed O’Keeffe (Galwegians)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon/Munster)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne)
Josh Rowland (Galwegians)
Tom Stapley (Ballynahinch)
Nick Timoney (Queen’s University/Ulster)
Steve Toal-Lennon (Exile)

RUGBY EUROPEAN SEVENS GRAND PRIX SERIES:
 

June 3/4 – Moscow, Russia
June 10/11 – ?ód?, Poland
July 1/2 – Saint-Étienne, France
July 15/16 – Exeter, England