The Ireland Men’s Sevens squad to complete in the third and penultimate leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series in Clermont-Ferrand this weekend has been announced.
Ireland finished third last time out in Lodz, Poland, while their title success on the opening weekend in Moscow sees them tied on 36 points in the overall series standings with Spain and Russia.
Josh Rowland (pictured below) is the only change to the side from the Lodz tournament, replacing the injured Terry Kennedy. Former Connacht recruit Rowland is set to make his first Sevens appearance of the season, having been sidelined through injury earlier in the year.
Billy Dardis will captain Ireland in Clermont and he is joined by fellow UCD club-mates Hugo Keenan and Harry McNulty. All three players were involved in the opening two rounds, as were the Lansdowne trio of Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell and Mark Roche.
Clontarf’s Mick McGrath, Naas winger Fionn Carr and Queen’s University and Ulster Academy back rower Nick Timoney are all set for their third Rugby Europe appearances of the summer, as is Buccaneers flyer Jordan Conroy who scored seven tries in the opening two rounds. Shannon and Munster’s Greg O’Shea, who made his debut in Lodz, completes the 12-man panel.
Ireland are attempting to qualify for both the World Rugby World Sevens Series Repechage in Hong Kong next season, and next summer’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco. As it stands, the men in green are the first of the two sides currently on course to qualify for the World Series Repechage, with Germany holding the second spot.
Ireland also hold top spot for in the race for 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens qualification due to a superior points difference, but are tied with Spain and Russia on 36 Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series points.
Speaking at the squad announcement for Clermont, the team’s head coach and IRFU Director of Rugby Sevens, Anthony Eddy, said: “We’ve had reasonable success so far over the opening two tournaments, and we’re looking to get another good result this weekend in Clermont.
“With it being very competitive between ourselves, Russia and Spain, the players know that a good performance this weekend should set us up well for a good finish in the final tournament in Exeter in two weeks’ time.”
Ireland are in Pool C along with Belgium, Italy and Wales. The Clermont 7s tournament, which will be played at Stade Gabriel Montpied, will be broadcast for the first time in Ireland on eir Sport 1 on both days, with live streaming also available on www.rugbyeurope.tv.
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2017 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series – Round 3, Stade Gabriel Montpied, Clermont-Ferrand, France, Saturday, July 1-Sunday, July 2):
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 (Queen’s University/Ulster)
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Fixtures –
Clermont 7s – Pool C:
Saturday, July 1:
Ireland v Belgium, Gabriel Montpied Stadium, 11.28am local time/10.28am Irish time
Ireland v Italy, Gabriel Montpied Stadium, 2.13pm local time/1.13pm Irish time
Ireland v Wales, Gabriel Montpied Stadium, 5.20pm local time/4.20pm Irish time
Sunday, July 2:
The full fixtures/pools are available on the Rugby Europe tournament page. Live coverage of the matches will be on eir Sport 1 and www.rugbyeurope.tv. For information on the RWC Sevens qualification process, click here.