The IRFU have announced a National Men’s Sevens squad for the 2017/18 season, which will see them compete in the World Sevens Series qualifying tournament in Hong Kong in April and the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco next July.
In order to maximise preparation for these two hugely significant tournaments, a number of players will be prioritising their involvement with the Sevens programme this season. Fourteen players from both the club game and provincial Academies will form the core squad of the Ireland Men’s Sevens programme.
Anthony Eddy, the IRFU Director of Sevens Rugby, said: “This is a really positive step and provides a core group of players with an opportunity to focus primarily on Sevens this season, as many of them have already committed so much to the success of the programme over the last couple of years.
“They will continue to play club rugby and train with the Academies but they will have a greater commitment to the Sevens programme, and will be provided the opportunity to train and play Sevens more regularly, rather than just the weekend camps that have operated during previous seasons.”
The squad will compete in three international tournaments before the end of the year – the DHL Oktoberfest 7s in Munich in September, the Silicon Valley 7s in San Jose, California in November and the Dubai 7s in early December.
Additional players from Academies and clubs will also have the opportunity to line out in an Ireland Sevens jersey this season according to Eddy, who added: “The best players interested in being involved will be provided an opportunity to represent Ireland and be part of a very busy and important season for the Ireland Men’s Sevens programme.
“Additional players from the club game and Academy programmes will train with the squad throughout the season, and as the season progresses it will be vital to have depth within the group.
“We are communicating regularly with the club and Academy coaches to minimise disruption, particularly for the core group who have committed to Sevens for the season, but also for players who will be training with the squad and who could potentially represent their country this season.”
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Core Squad (2017/18 Season):
Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen RFC/Ulster)
Will Connors (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution FC/Munster)
Billy Dardis (UCD RFC)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Jimmy O’Brien (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC/Leinster)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University FC)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne FC)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad Graduates – From 2015/16 To Date:
Rory O’Loughlin (23 Leinster appearances/Ireland 1 cap)
Alex Wootton (10 Munster appearances)
Dan Goggin (15 Munster appearances)
Adam Byrne (26 Leinster appearances)
Barry Daly (12 Leinster appearances)
Tom Daly (9 Leinster appearances)
Nick Timoney (3 Ulster appearances)
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