After touching down in Los Angeles on Monday evening, the Ireland Men’s Sevens squad wasted little time in stepping up their preparations for this weekend’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series leg in America as they hit the gym and pitch during a double training day on Tuesday.
Having started the week in the gym, Anthony Eddy‘s 13-man squad then took advantage of the world-class training facilities on offer at the University of California, Los Angeles to build towards Saturday’s Pool B games against Canada, Kenya and South Africa in the fifth leg of the 2019/20 Men’s World Series.
Under warm afternoon sunshine in downtown LA, Ireland got through a positive 45-minute workout designed to combat the previous day’s travel as attention turns to the challenges ahead, starting with the tournament opener against familiar foes Canada on day one of the LA Sevens (11.13am local time/7.13pm Irish time).
“The first session was good but obviously coming off the back of a plane journey, there are a few cobwebs and you’re trying to get the body loosened but I think it went well and we’ll have a bigger session tomorrow,” Greg O’Shea told IrishRugby.ie.
“The facilities here at UCLA are top of the range. It’s one of the best rugby pitches I’ve ever been on and it’s one of the best campuses in the world so we’re lucky to train here.”
Eddy’s side will be back on the pitch early on Wednesday morning for their most intense session of tournament week as they look to build on their seventh place finish in Sydney and improve their current position of ninth in the overall World Series standings.
As the LA Sevens is a standalone Men’s event, the format reverts back to the standard quarter-final one with the top two teams from each Pool progressing through to the knockout stages on Sunday.
“It’ll be good for us because we’re trying to get used to the World Series as an entirety so it’s good it’s back to a familiar format,” O’Shea continued. “Hopefully we can get a good result and keep grabbing some points on the World Series.
“Canada are a good side and we keep coming up against them in the Pool stages. We’ve lost to them twice this season so we definitely owe them one but we have three big games with Kenya and South Africa on Saturday too.”
Uncapped Ulster Academy scrum-half Graham Curtis is included in Eddy’s squad for the first time and will be pushing for selection this weekend while the likes of captain Billy Dardis, Harry McNulty, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy and O’Shea provide a very experienced core to the travelling panel.
As well as training hard, the players will enjoy some much-needed downtime in LA in the coming days as they prepare themselves mentally and physically for the tournament, which is being played at the Dignity Health Sports Park, the home of MLS outfit LA Galaxy.
“We’ve a hard day of training tomorrow and a gym session on Thursday morning but then we’ll go and see the city, see what Los Angeles has to offer,” O’Shea added.
“That’s the beauty of Sevens, you get to see these amazing places. We’ll go and see the city but will be focusing then on the weekend.”
You can follow all the build-up to the LA Sevens throughout the week on IrishRugby.ie and across IRFU social media channels, while Ireland’s Pool fixtures will be live on Sky Sports and the RTÉ Player this Saturday.