The Ireland Men’s Sevens management have named a 13-man squad to travel to Moscow for the opening round of the Rugby Europe Men’s Sevens Grand Prix Series this weekend.
Ireland were the winners of the tournament in Moscow last season, and finished second on the overall Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series. This weekend’s matches will be available to view on the Rugby Europe live stream via www.rugbyeurope.tv
Their second place finish gained them a spot at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series qualifying competition in Hong Kong, which was held last month. Ireland narrowly lost out to eventual tournament winners Japan in the semi-final.
The Grand Prix Series will again serve as the entry route to next year’s World Series qualifier. Ireland are drawn in Pool B for Moscow, along with familiar rivals Germany, Portugal and Poland.
Billy Dardis will captain the Irish squad in Russia and is joined by his UCD team-mates, Hugo Keenan and Harry McNulty, in the travelling party. Fresh from success with his club Lansdowne in the Ulster Bank League final, Ian Fitzpatrick is back on Sevens international duty.
Cork Constitution’s Shane Daly, who lined out against Lansdowne at the Aviva Stadium two weeks ago, is also included. Greg O’Shea also had success in the Ulster Bank League this season, as he was part of the Shannon side that won the Division 1B title and gained promotion back to the top flight.
Speedsters Robert Baloucoune, Jordan Conroy and Terry Kennedy are all set to travel, as is Suttonians scrum half Sean Cribbin. John O’Donnell, Bryan Mollen and Mark Roche (pictured below) complete the squad.
Speaking ahead of the squad’s departure for Russia, the IRFU’s Director of Sevens, Anthony Eddy, said: “With a busy schedule over the next few months including the Sevens Rugby World Cup in July, the players are hungrier than ever for success and are all looking forward to getting back out on the field this weekend.
“We have a challenging pool for Moscow. Germany reached the final of the Hong Kong qualifier, Poland are always a strong and physical side, and Portugal are a pacey team, so it will be important that the players are focused throughout each game as we look to get things off to a good start.”
After Moscow, Ireland will compete at the World Sevens Series events in London (June 2-3) and Paris (June 9-10) as the invitational team. Tickets for the London 7s are available to buy here, with Eddy’s charges set to face Australia, Wales and Spain.
They then travel to Marcoussis in France for the second round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series (June 30-July 1) and the following week they compete in the third round in Exeter (July 7-8).
The Ireland Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams will both compete at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco over the weekend of July 20-22 at AT&T Park – tickets are available to buy here. The final round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series takes place in Poland on September 8-9.
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2018 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series – Round 1, Oktyabr Stadium, Moscow, Russia, Saturday, May 19-Sunday, May 20):
Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen/Ulster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians)
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Billy Dardis (UCD) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon)
Mark Roche (Blackrock College)
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS FIXTURES – MOSCOW 7s:
Saturday, May 19 –
Ireland v Poland, Oktyabr Stadium, 10.44am local time/8.44am Irish time
Ireland v Portugal, Oktyabr Stadium, 1.29pm local time/11.29am Irish time
Ireland v Germany, Oktyabr Stadium, 4.36pm local time/2.36pm Irish time
Sunday, May 20 –