The Ireland Men’s Sevens squad that will compete in the two legs of the Sudamérica 7s Series in Uruguay and Chile over the next two weekends.
The selected side features 11 players who helped Ireland to a fifth place finish at last month’s Dubai 7s Invitiational tournament – Sean Cribbin, captain Billy Dardis, Ian Fitzpatrick, Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Alex McHenry, Harry McNulty, Bryan Mollen, John O’Donnell, Greg O’Shea and Mark Roche.
Will Connors, who is in Year Two of the Leinster Academy along with Keenan and Kennedy, completes the 12-man Ireland squad, while Lansdowne’s Foster Horan has travelled as 13th man.
The Sudamérica 7s Series sees 12 teams competing over two legs. Five of the teams involved are core sides on the World Sevens Series (Argentina, Canada, France, South Africa and the USA).
Ireland and Germany are invitational sides, while Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Paraguay and Uruguay will compete for the two spots at the Hong Kong 7s Repechage in April, which will see the overall winners claim a place on the World Rugby Sevens World Series next season.
The top two South American sides over the series will also qualify for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco in July. For this weekend’s opening tournament of 2018 in Uruguay, Ireland feature in Pool C with Argentina, Canada and potential Hong Kong opponents, Colombia.
IRFU Director of Rugby Sevens, Anthony Eddy, said: “The squad set off for Uruguay earlier this week and have settled in well. It’s an interesting pool that we’ve been drawn into, with World Series teams Argentina and Canada, as well as Colombia, who are potential opponents in Hong Kong, so it will be another good opportunity for the players to test themselves against these teams ahead of the qualification tournament in April.
“With two tournaments over two weekends, it will also give the players another chance to experience what life is like on the World Series, where tournaments run back to back.”
The first leg of Sudamérica 7s Series takes place this weekend at Campus Municipal de Maldonado in Punta del Este in south east Uruguay, and will conclude next weekend in Chile at the Mackay School in the region of Valparaiso.
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2018 Sudamérica 7s Series – Campus Municipal de Maldonado, Punta del Este, Uruguay, January 6-7; Mackay School, Valparaiso, Chile, January 13-14):
Will Connors (UCD/Leinster)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians)
Billy Dardis (UCD) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Alex McHenry (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon)
Mark Roche (Blackrock College)
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS FIXTURES – SUDAMERICA 7S FIRST LEG:
Saturday, January 6 –
Ireland v Argentina, Campus Municipal de Maldonado, 5.09pm local time/8.09pm Irish time
Ireland v Canada, Campus Municipal de Maldonado, 7.43pm local time/10.43pm Irish time
Ireland v Colombia, Campus Municipal de Maldonado, 9.55pm local time/12.55am (Sunday) Irish time
Sunday, January 7 –
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS 2017/18 Tournament Schedule –
Oktoberfest 7s, Munich, Germany – September 29-30 (Seventh Place)
Elche 7s, Elche, Spain – October 28-29 (Runners-Up)
Silicon Valley 7s, San Jose, USA – November 4-5 (Bowl Champions)
Dubai 7s, Dubai, UAE – December 1-2 (Fifth Place)
Sudamérica 7s, Punta del Este, Uruguay – January 6-7
Sudamérica 7s, Valparaiso, Chile – January 13-14
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