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Ireland Men Leave It Late As O’Brien Try Knocks Out Chile

Ireland Men Leave It Late As O’Brien Try Knocks Out Chile

Captain Billy Dardis and Jimmy O’Brien combined to steer the Ireland Men’s team through to the last 16 of the Rugby World Cup Sevens, with the latter notching a decisive try in the final play of their tense 17-12 win over Chile.

MEN’S RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS – PRE-ROUND OF 16: Friday, July 20

IRELAND 17 CHILE 12, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Keenan, Billy Dardis, Jimmy O’Brien; Con: Billy Dardis

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This end-to-end match brought the curtain down on an exciting pre-round-of-16 at AT&T Park, and Ireland needed a try-saving tackle from Billy Dardis and Jimmy O’Brien’s try past the final hooter to chalk up victory number one of the weekend.

They will be targeting a much-improved performance when they meet World Series champions South Africa in the round of 16 (kick-off 9.15pm local time/5.15am Irish time) (live on eir Sport 1/live streaming via www.rwcsevens.com (in certain countries)/highlights on ITV 4).

A key area that coach Stan McDowell will be focusing on is tackle completion with the Ireland men ending their tournament opener at just 68%. Missed one-on-ones allowed Chile through for their two tries and they would have had a potentially match-winning third one if Dardis had not forced the burly Martin Verschae to put a foot in touch.

It was Verschae’s twin brother, Pedro, who opened the scoring after just 23 seconds. Los Condores got up to compete well for the kick-off, forcing the ball free from an airborne Shane Daly, and Verschae, having been fed from a ruck, capitalised on a defensive slip by Dardis to break straight through and go in under the posts.

Ireland settled down from the restart, which was well claimed by Hugo Keenan. John O’Donnell and Jordan Conroy got their hands on the ball on opposite wings before Bryan Mollen and Daly provided the penetration either side of a tap penalty. Keenan then stepped off his right, evaded a tackle and used his fend and leg drive to reach over and score.

Dardis converted his UCD club-mate’s third-minute score to bring Ireland level at seven points apiece. They pushed ahead closing in on half-time, with a free-kick launching them forward and Dardis’ clever footwork saw him dart clear of a defender on the outside to make it 12-7. Chile pressed for a late response, threatening from a hack through but Conroy got back to cover the danger.

Frustratingly, the Irish error count increased as Dardis’ kick at the start of the second half failing to go ten metres. Harry McNulty responded with a good penalty win at the breakdown, yet Mollen was unable to get his pass away to Conroy on a promising break and the Dublin University clubman had to hobble off just moments later.

Playing a penalty advantage, Chile worked scrum possession over to Francisco Metuaze and he took off from halfway, handing off Conroy twice to run in a terrific solo try for los Condores wide on the right. Marcelo Torrealba clipped the conversion wide, setting up a dramatic conclusion with the teams level and just under four minutes remaining.

It was tit-for-tat stuff with Ireland failing to profit from Dardis’ weaving run, and then the Naas native came to Ireland’s rescue in the sweeper role. Replacement Martin Verschae evaded the clutches of Ian Fitzpatrick with a strong hand-off, charging up the right touchline. Dardis could not bring him down but the impact of his tackle forced Verschae off balance and his right boot found the touchline.

Drawing their breath, Ireland regained their composure to impressively build from a lineout deep in their own 22. The fresh legs and attacking wit of replacements O’Brien and Terry Kennedy gobbled up the metres, forcing Chile back into their own half. Fitzpatrick, Daly and McNulty worked well in an interchange up the left, before the moment arose on the opposite flank for Kennedy’s sidestep to floor a defender, opening the way for Keenan to send O’Brien over for his dramatic match winner.

TIME LINE: 1 minute – Chile try: Pedro Verschae – 5-0; conversion: Marcelo Torrealba – 7-0; 3 mins – Ireland try: Hugo Keenan – 7-5; conversion: Billy Dardis – 7-7; 6 mins – Ireland try: Billy Dardis – 12-7; Half-time – Ireland 12 Chile 7; 11 mins – Chile try: Francisco Metuaze – 12-12; conversion: missed by Marcelo Torrealba – 12-12; 14+1 mins – Ireland try: Jimmy O’Brien – 17-12; conversion: missed by Billy Dardis – 17-12; Full-time – Ireland 17 Chile 12

Team: Shane Daly, John O’Donnell, Harry McNulty, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Bryan Mollen, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Jimmy O’Brien, Terry Kennedy, Ian Fitzpatrick. Not used: Foster Horan, Greg O’Shea.

Follow the Ireland Women’s and Men’s Sevens teams this season in our exclusive behind-the-scenes series – On The Road with the Ireland 7s.

The Ireland Sevens jerseys are available to buy online here from Elverys Intersport, official sports retailer of the IRFU.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens, AT&T Park, San Francisco, USA, Friday, July 20-Sunday, July 22):

Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen/Ballymena/Ulster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Billy Dardis (UCD) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University)
Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon)

IRELAND MEN’S RWC SEVENS Results/Fixtures –

Friday, July 20:

Pre-Round of 16: Ireland 17 Chile 12, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Keenan, Billy Dardis, Jimmy O’Brien; Con: Billy Dardis

Team: Shane Daly, John O’Donnell, Harry McNulty, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Bryan Mollen, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Jimmy O’Brien, Terry Kennedy, Ian Fitzpatrick. Not used: Foster Horan, Greg O’Shea.

Round of 16: South Africa v Ireland, AT&T Park, San Francisco, 9.15pm local time/5.15am Irish time

Saturday, July 21:

Quarter-Finals

Sunday, July 22:

Finals

More details on the Rugby World Cup Sevens are available here. Tickets are available to purchase herevia the tournament website. There are single-day tickets in all seating categories and three-day tickets.