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Ireland Men’s Sevens Squad Selected For World Series Qualifier

Ireland Men’s Sevens Squad Selected For World Series Qualifier

Bryan Mollen is one of the players returning to Hong Kong after lining out for Ireland at last year's World Sevens Series qualifier ©INPHO/Jayne Russell

The Ireland Men’s Sevens squad to compete at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series qualifying tournament at the Hong Kong 7s has been confirmed by IRFU Director of Sevens Rugby Anthony Eddy.

The tournament winners will gain a place on next season’s World Rugby Sevens Series. The 13-man Ireland squad travelled to Hong Kong over the weeken, with the World Series qualifier kicking off at Hong Kong Stadium on Friday.

Eight of the players named in the squad, including 24-year-old captain Billy Dardis, competed at last year’s competition where Ireland were agonisingly knocked out at the semi-final stage by eventual champions Japan.

Dardis, Ian Fitzpatrick, Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Harry McNulty, Bryan Mollen, John O’Donnell and Mark Roche, who is back after his recovery from a broken leg, all featured in the green jersey at the 2018 World Series qualifier, while Foster Horan was 13th man. In Hong Kong for the first time are Buccaneers flyer Jordan Conroy, Adam Leavy, Mick McGrath and Greg O’Shea.

Ireland have been drawn in Pool F with Jamaica, Uruguay and European rivals Russia. They face Jamaica, the Rugby Americas North Sevens champions, first up on Friday (kick-off 12.38pm local time/5.38am Irish time), before playing Uruguay, the fourth-place finishers in the recent Sudamérica Rugby Sevens, at 3.43pm local time/8.43am Irish time.

Eddy’s men defeated both Jamaica (26-0) and Uruguay (36-0) in their Hong Kong pool in 2018, while they have gone head-to-head with Russia, their final round opponents on Saturday (kick-off 10.08am local time/3.08am Irish time), on a number of occasions, including a 35-0 Marcoussis 7s semi-final win last July.

Pool E for the qualifier includes hosts Hong Kong, the Philippines, Zimbabwe and Tonga, the latter two having featured on the 2019 series as invitational sides. Germany, beaten finalists the last two years in Hong Kong, feature in Pool G along with Uganda, the Cook Islands and Chile, the invitational team in Las Vegas and Vancouver earlier this month.

Reflecting on the experience of last year and subsequent tournaments, Eddy said:

There have been many learnings since last year’s Hong Kong experience, with some very positive moments for the team. The players have been exposed to a high level of competition and have tasted success during the year.

“Competing at the World Series events in London, where they won bronze, and Paris, winning the Rugby Europe title and doing well at the Rugby World Cup, while also claiming the Dubai Invitational title, has helped the players grow in confidence, as well as developing their skills by playing against the top sides in the world.

“The Hong Kong qualifier is a tough winner-takes-all competition, and having experienced last year’s tournament, everyone involved is focused on the performance that is required for six games and claiming a position on next season’s World Series.”

You can follow the progress of the Ireland Men’s Sevens team on our social channels @irishrugby/#IreM7s and on the World Rugby website.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2019 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier – Hong Kong 7s, Hong Kong Stadium, Friday, April 5-Sunday, April 7):

Billy Dardis (Terenure College) (capt)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College)
Adam Leavy (Lansdowne)
Mick McGrath (Clontarf)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon)
Mark Roche (Blackrock College)

HSBC WORLD RUGBY SEVENS SERIES QUALIFIER – HONG KONG 7s:

POOL E: Hong Kong, Tonga, Zimbabwe, Philippines

POOL F: Ireland, Russia, Uruguay, Jamaica

POOL H: Chile, Germany, Uganda, Cook Islands

IRELAND FIXTURES –

Friday, April 5

POOL F:

Ireland v Jamaica, Hong Kong Stadium, 12.38pm local time/5.38am Irish time
Ireland v Uruguay, Hong Kong Stadium, 3.43pm local time/8.43am Irish time

Saturday, April 6

Ireland v Russia, Hong Kong Stadium, 10.08am local time/3.08am Irish time

QUARTER-FINALS

Sunday, April 7

SEMI-FINALS & FINAL