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‘It’s A Big Weekend For Us, We Really Need To Step Up’

Billy Dardis

Ireland Men’s Sevens captain Billy Dardis says his side need to ‘really step up’ this weekend as they look to put the disappointment of last week’s performance in Hamilton behind them at the fourth leg of the HSBC Men’s World Rugby Sevens Series in Sydney.

Anthony Eddy‘s charges were unable to build on their encouraging sixth-place finish in Cape Town before Christmas when they suffered defeats to Canada, France and Scotland in New Zealand last weekend, as Ireland finished 12th at the FMG Stadium Waikato.

Having experienced a disappointing campaign in Dubai the week before reaching a quarter-final in Cape Town during the December World Series double-header, the hope is that Ireland will again use the frustration of last week into producing a much-improved performance in Australia this weekend.

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Appearing at the Sydney Sevens for the first time, Ireland, currently ranked 11th in the World Series after three rounds, will open their Pool D campaign against Canada on Saturday (1.25pm local time, 2.25am Irish time) before facing England in an evening session clash (7.35pm local time, 8.35am Irish time) at the Bankwest Stadium.

Eddy’s Men, who arrived in Australia from Hamilton on Monday and have been training at the Sydney Olympic Park this week, will then conclude the Pool stages against Spain on Sunday (12.35pm local time, 1.35am Irish time) as they bid to rediscover their best form and advance through to the tournament semi-finals

“It’s one of the big tournaments we’ve been looking forward to,” Dardis told IrishRugby.ie.

“We were pretty disappointed after last week. It’s pretty frustrating that we couldn’t do the job in the first week. When we look back on it, we had so many opportunities and a lot of the games were one-score games. We’re not a million miles off and that’s important to remember. We’re a few decisions and a bit of luck away off from getting some wins and that can make a huge difference, especially in this format.

“It’s really cut throat. If you lose a game you can find yourself in a lower ranking game pretty quickly. Every game is a final for us and we’re going to really have to treat it like that this weekend.”

Ahead of the opening clash against familiar foes Canada on Saturday, Dardis added: “It will be a big challenge. We had them first up last weekend too and they’re really big and physical with a lot of athletic guys. It will be important to start the weekend off well and get started with a win. It’s a big weekend for us, we really need to step up.

“The next block of tournaments is really important for the year as we look to build into June and the Olympic qualifiers as well. It’s exciting but we can’t look past Canada. It’ll be a big one.”