The Ireland Men’s Sevens team will lock horns with Spain, Russia and Ukraine on the opening day of the Rugby Europe Olympic qualifying tournament in Colomiers on Saturday, July 13, following conformation of the pool line-ups and fixtures.
The Olympic qualifier at Colomiers’ Stade Michel Bendichou takes place on July 13-14 and only the winners will advance to Tokyo 2020. The teams that finish second and third will have a final shot at reaching the Olympics via next year’s World Repechage tournament.
On foot of their runners-up finish at the Moscow 7s last weekend, Ireland are top seeds in Pool B alongside familiar rivals Spain and Russia. The quartet is completed by Ukraine, who booked their place in Colomiers after finishing second behind Lithuania in the Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy Series.
Anthony Eddy’s men were 17-12 quarter-final winners over Spain when they met in Moscow, with replacement Hugo Lennox’s late quick-tap try deciding the contest. Ireland defeated Spain on five occasions last year, including twice as an invitational team at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series legs in London and Paris.
However, the Spanish outfit, who claimed sixth spot in Moscow last Sunday, have two successive World Series seasons behind them and famously qualified for Rio 2016 via the World Repechage in Monaco, handing Ireland a 12-7 quarter-final loss in the process.
Waisale Serevi’s Russia lost 34-0 to Spain and 62-0 to England on the way to finishing ninth in Moscow, while Ireland twice had their measure at April’s World Series qualifier in Hong Kong, triumphing 33-7 and 47-0 with Buccaneers flyer Jordan Conroy running in five tries across the two games.
Ireland have not played Ukraine since overcoming them twice (26-12 and 52-0) during their 2016 Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy-winning campaign. The last time the sides faced off three years ago in Prague, current squad members Harry McNulty, Ian Fitzpatrick, Mick McGrath, John O’Donnell and Billy Dardis were on the pitch that day.
Moscow champions France will be hoping to make home advantage count in Colomiers, their Pool A opposition coming in the form of Portugal, Italy and European Sevens Conference champions Hungary. Newly-crowned Trophy winners Lithuania join Georgia, Germany and third seeds England in Pool C.
Live streaming of the games in Colomiers on July 13-14 will be available via www.rugbyeurope.eu. The full fixtures list and pools can be viewed here on the Rugby Europe website. Tickets, priced from 10-25 euro, are available to buy online here.
2019 RUGBY EUROPE OLYMPIC MEN’S SEVENS QUALIFIER:
POOL A – France, Portugal, Italy, Hungary
POOL B – IRELAND, Spain, Russia, Ukraine
POOL C – England, Germany, Georgia, Lithuania
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Fixtures –
Saturday, July 13 –
Ireland v Ukraine, Stade Michel Bendichou, 12.44pm local time/11.44am Irish time
Ireland v Russia, Stade Michel Bendichou, 3.29pm local time/2.29pm Irish time
Ireland v Spain, Stade Michel Bendichou, 6.36pm local time/5.36pm Irish time
Sunday, July 14 –
Play-Offs & Finals
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS – European Schedule:
June 22-23: Moscow, Russia – Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series First Leg (2nd Place/18 Points)
July 13-14: Colomiers, France – Rugby Europe Sevens Olympic Qualifying Tournament
July 20-21: Lodz, Poland – Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series Second Leg