The Ireland Men’s Sevens squad to compete in the fourth and final tournament of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series in Exeter this weekend has been confirmed.
Last time out they also secured a place at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Repechage in Hong Kong next season, where the winners will go on to be a core team on the 2018/19 World Series.
This weekend, the men in green will look to qualify for next summer’s Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco. With two spots available, Ireland sit top of the standings on 56 points after winning their second title of the series, leaving them two points clear of Lodz winners Russia with Spain a further two points back going into the final round.
There are two changes to the squad that competed in Clermont, with Jimmy O’Brien returning to the line-up having last been involved in Moscow, and Adam Leavy is set to win his first Ireland Sevens cap. The former Ireland Under-20 winger (pictured below) is in his second year with the Connacht Academy and joined the Ireland Sevens programme this season.
Billy Dardis will again captain the side which includes his UCD team-mates O’Brien, Hugo Keenan and Harry McNulty. The Lansdowne trio of Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell and Mark Roche feature in the 12-man panel as does Naas clubman Fionn Carr and Ulster’s Nick Timoney.
Buccaneers flyer Jordan Conroy, who scored 11 tries across the first three European tournaments, will be looking to increase his tally this weekend at Sandy Park, with Shannon speedster Greg O’Shea completing the squad.
Anthony Eddy, the IRFU’s Director of Sevens Rugby, said: “We were pleased with the result in Clermont, and claiming that spot at the Hong Kong Repechage next season was really important, as it was one of one of our main goals we set out to achieve this season.
“We’re in a good position going into this weekend, and the players are very focused on a good performance in Exeter and winning the Grand Prix Series.”
Series leaders Ireland are in Pool A with France, Belgium and Portugal. The Exeter 7s will be broadcast on Sky Sports 5 on Saturday and Sky Sports 3 on Sunday. There will also be live streaming on www.rugbyeurope.tv.
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2017 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series – Round 4, Sandy Park, Exeter, Saturday, July 15-Sunday, July 16):
Fionn Carr (Naas)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Billy Dardis (UCD) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Adam Leavy (Galwegians/Connacht) *
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne)
Nick Timoney (Queen’s University/Ulster)
* Denotes uncapped player
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Fixtures –
Exeter 7s – Pool A:
Saturday, July 15:
Ireland v Portugal, Sandy Park, 11.30am
Ireland v Belgium, Sandy Park, 2.15pm
Ireland v France, Sandy Park, 5pm
Saturday, July 16:
The full fixtures/pools are available on the Rugby Europe tournament page. Live coverage of the matches will be on Sky Sports 3/5 and www.rugbyeurope.tv. For information on the RWC Sevens qualification process, click here.