The Ireland Men’s Sevens management team have named their 12-man squad to travel to Munich this week to compete at the DHL Oktoberfest 7s tournament.
The selected Ireland side will be captained by Billy Dardis who is joined by three of his UCD team-mates, Will Connors, Hugo Keenan and Harry McNulty, for the international Sevens season opener.
Skerries youngster and Leinster Under-19 out-half Hugo Lennox, who impressed as Ireland retained the Rugby Europe Under-18 Men’s Sevens title in Heidelberg two weeks ago, has earned a call-up to the Ireland Sevens senior side.
Two Lansdowne players feature in the Munich-bound squad, with the Leinster Academy’s Ian Fitzpatrick joined by John O’Donnell, another regular in the Irish Sevens panel. Mark Roche, who moved from Lansdowne to Blackrock College in the summer, is included along with Galwegians winger Adam Leavy.
Reigning Ulster Bank League champions Cork Constitution have two players in the squad in Shane Daly and Alex McHenry, and Dublin University’s Bryan Mollen completes the line-up. Jordan Conroy and Jimmy O’Brien are among the players absent due to injury.
Ireland have been drawn in Pool C for the Oktoberfest 7s, alongside Chile and HSBC World Series sides Australia and Fiji. The ‘flying Fijians’ also won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The Oktoberfest 7s is the first tournament for the Ireland Men’s Sevens squad this season, as they build towards the World Series qualifying event in Hong Kong in April and the Sevens Rugby World Cup in July.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s tournament which will be played at the iconic Olympic Stadium in Munich, Anthony Eddy, the IRFU’s Director of Sevens Rugby, said: “It’s set to be a challenging but exciting season for the Ireland Men’s Sevens programme, as we prepare for two major tournaments in 2018.
“We have a strong group of players on the Sevens panel and we are getting the season underway earlier this year as we’re looking to give the players lots of game-time over the coming months.
“The Oktoberfest tournament will give the players the chance to play against top class opposition and the three pool games will be tough – but it will be important for us to play against sides who are competing on the World Series as often as possible so that the players can test themselves and develop their game as the season progresses.”
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2017 DHL Oktoberfest 7s, Olympic Stadium, Munich, Germany, Friday, September 29-Saturday, September 30):
Will Connors (UCD/Leinster)
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Billy Dardis (UCD) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Adam Leavy (Galwegians/Connacht)
Hugo Lennox (MU Barnhall)
Alex McHenry (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Mark Roche (Blackrock College)
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Fixtures –
DHL Oktoberfest 7s – Pool C:
Friday, September 29:
Fiji v Ireland, Olympic Stadium, Munich, 1.23pm local time/12.23pm Irish time
Australia v Ireland, Olympic Stadium, Munich, 3.23pm local time/2.23pm Irish time
Chile v Ireland, Olympic Stadium, Munich, 6.44pm local time/5.44pm Irish time
Saturday, September 30:
Watch live here – https://www.facebook.com/pg/oktoberfestsevens/videos/
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS 2017 Tournament Schedule –
Oktoberfest 7s, Munich, Germany – September 29-30
Elche 7s, Elche, Spain – October 28-29
Silicon Valley 7s, San Jose, USA – November 4-5
Dubai 7s, Dubai, UAE – December 1-2
Hong Kong 7s (World Series Repechage), Hong Kong – April 7-8
Amsterdam 7s, Amsterdam, Netherlands – June 9-10
Rugby World Cup Sevens, San Francisco, USA – July 20-22