The Ireland Men’s Sevens coaches have announced a 12-man squad to travel to Alicante to compete in the Elche 7s tournament this Saturday and Sunday.
The Spanish tournament will also feature national teams from France, Russia, Wales, hosts Spain as well as a Spanish invitational side. All teams will face each other over the two days, with the top two facing off in the final on day 2.
The selected Ireland squad features eight players from the provincial Academies – Connacht flyer Jordan Conroy, who makes a welcome return from injury, Leinster’s Ian Fitzpatrick, Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O’Brien and Terry Kennedy, Munster’s Shane Daly and Alex McHenry and Ulster’s Michael Stronge, who recently made his Ulster Bank League debut with Ballymena.
From the club scene, Lansdowne players Foster Horan and John O’Donnell are included, as is Old Wesley centre James O’Donovan and Blackrock College’s Mark Roche.
The Elche tournament is the start of a busy two weeks for the Ireland Men’s Sevens programme, as they will also compete at the much-anticipated Silicon Valley 7s next weekend (November 4-5) in San Jose, California.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s competition in Elche, Anthony Eddy, the IRFU Director of Sevens Rugby, said: “The Elche tournament will provide a good test for the players as they look to build on what was a positive experience at the Oktoberfest 7s last month.
“The players who were in Munich took a lot from competing against teams that feature regularly on the World Sevens Series, and they will be tested again this weekend against their European counterparts.
“Some of the players involved this weekend will also be challenged in back-to-back tournaments as we travel to San Jose next week for the Silicon Valley 7s. This again is about looking to prepare them for the big challenges ahead in 2018 with the World Series qualifier in Hong Kong in April and the Sevens Rugby World Cup in July.”
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2017 Elche 7s Tournament, Estadio Martinez Valero, Elche, Alicante, Spain, Saturday, October 28-Sunday, October 29):
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Alex McHenry (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
James O’Donovan (Old Wesley)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Mark Roche (Blackrock College)
Michael Stronge (Ballymena/Ulster)
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Fixtures –
Saturday, October 28:
Spain v Ireland, Estadio Martinez Valero, 11.20am local time/10.20am Irish time
Ireland v Wales, Estadio Martinez Valero, 1.40pm local time/12.40pm Irish time
Russia v Ireland, Estadio Martinez Valero, 3.40pm local time/2.40pm Irish time
Sunday, October 29:
Ireland v France, Estadio Martinez Valero, 11am local time/10am Irish time
Ireland v Viator Barbarians, Estadio Martinez Valero, 1.10pm local time/12.10pm Irish time
Final, Estadio Martinez Valero, 2.35pm local time/1.35pm Irish time
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS 2017 Tournament Schedule –
Oktoberfest 7s, Munich, Germany – September 29-30 (Seventh Place)
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