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Ireland Men Set Up Quarter-Final Clash With Australia

Ireland Men Set Up Quarter-Final Clash With Australia

Ireland Men Set Up Quarter-Final Clash With Australia

World Series debutant Andrew Smith throws a pass during Ireland's second round match against South Africa in Dubai ©Mike Lee/KLC Fotos/World Rugby

The Ireland Men advanced to their second Cup quarter-final of the new season, in front of the returning fans at the second leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai.

Ireland set up a last-eight meeting with Australia tomorrow morning (9.44am Irish time/5.44am local time), following a resounding 41-0 victory over Japan in their final pool game.

After losses to Great Britain (24-21) and South Africa (21-12), James Topping’s side repeated their feat from last week to progress from Pool A as the overall best third-placed finishers.

Back on the World Series stage, Jordan Conroy marked his return with four tries – braces against both Britain and Japan – and Terry Kennedy, the top try scorer from last week’s opening tournament, chipped in with three.

Pool rivals for the last three World Series tournaments, Ireland and Great Britain played out another exciting and hard-fought clash which went right down to the wire.

Morgan Williams evaded Jack Kelly’s tackle to give GB a second-minute lead, and a couple of tight breakdown penalties went against Ireland before Jamie Farndale made it 12-0.

The deadly duo of Kennedy and Conroy combined to reduce the margin to five points, the latter darting over just before half-time after some nice interplay along the right wing.

Jude Postlethwaite made a big impact off the bench, galloping over for an excellent early second-half try thanks to his own initial offload to Kennedy and then a hand-off to get clear of Ross McCann.

Captain Billy Dardis kicked Ireland in front and also added the extras to Conroy’s second try. Postlethwaite and Kennedy featured in the build-up, the latter’s mazy cross-field run doing the damage.

However, the sidestepping McCann quickly brought Britain forward for Max McFarland to score. The former Clontarf winger proved to be GB’s ‘super sub’ as he followed up with the match-winning try.

Bringing Leinster’s Andrew Smith in for his World Series debut, Ireland tackled the champions from Dubai’s first leg, South Africa, who had a try from Shilton van Wyk – during Zac Ward’s sin bin period – to lead 7-0 at half-time.

Dominating territory, the top seeds doubled their lead when Selvyn Davids sliced through. Ireland hit back with an excellent team attack, started by Ed Kelly and Postlethwaite in their own 22.

Kennedy, the captain in Dardis’ absence, caught the Blitzbokke out with a try from a quick tap, but Impi Visser’s subsequent score, as they played through a penalty advantage, decided the game.

Ireland’s persistence was rewarded past the final hooter, Postlethwaite spinning out of a tackle and Aaron O’Sullivan showed his sidestepping ability before picking up from a ruck to score. Mark Roche banged over a fine conversion.

Needing a return to winning ways in order to reach the quarters, Ireland’s final pool encounter with Japan was scoreless until the fourth minute when Conroy raided in behind the posts from 40 metres out.

Kennedy was fed from another scrum, this time ghosting through a gap himself to make it 12-0. The St. Mary’s College speedster turned provider past the half-time hooter, dinking a kick through for Conroy to complete his brace.

Dardis’ conversion had Japan 19-0 behind at the break, and Ireland went up on a gear on the restart, Postlethwaite galloping downfield and offloading off the deck for Jack Kelly to finish off.

Teenager Postlethwaite shone again with a spin out of a tackle and another well-timed offload for Kennedy to complete his brace. Roche added the extras for a 31-0 scoreline.

There was still time for Ballynahinch clubman Ward to run in his first two World Series tries, bumping off one defender for the initial one and then collecting his own hack through for the second.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (Dubai Sevens, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, December 2021):

Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Liam Turner (Dublin University FC/Leinster)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC) (capt)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Aaron O’Sullivan (Blackrock College RFC)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Jude Postlethwaite (Banbridge RFC/Ulster)


Friday, December 3 –


GREAT BRITAIN 24 IRELAND 21, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai
Scorers: Great Britain: Tries: Morgan Williams, Jamie Farndale, Max McFarland 2; Cons: Robbie Fergusson 2
Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy 2, Jude Postlethwaite; Cons: Billy Dardis 3
HT: Great Britain 12 Ireland 7

Team: Jack Kelly, Aaron O’Sullivan, Liam Turner, Billy Dardis (capt), Sean Cribbin, Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy.

Subs used: Niall Comerford, Jude Postlethwaite, Mark Roche, Zac Ward. Not used: Ed Kelly.

SOUTH AFRICA 21 IRELAND 12, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai
Scorers: South Africa: Tries: Shilton van Wyk, Selvyn Davids, Impi Visser; Cons: Branco du Preez, Ronald Brown 2
Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy, Aaron O’Sullivan; Con: Mark Roche
HT: South Africa 7 Ireland 0

Team: Jack Kelly, Zac Ward, Andrew Smith, Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy (capt), Mark Roche, Ed Kelly.

Subs used: Liam Turner, Jude Postlethwaite, Aaron O’Sullivan, Niall Comerford, Sean Cribbin.

IRELAND 41 JAPAN 0, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy 2, Terry Kennedy 2, Jack Kelly, Zac Ward 2; Cons: Billy Dardis 2, Mark Roche
Japan: –
HT: Ireland 19 Japan 0

Team: Jack Kelly, Aaron O’Sullivan, Liam Turner, Billy Dardis (capt), Sean Cribbin, Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy.

Subs used: Jude Postlethwaite, Ed Kelly, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Andrew Smith.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Dubai Sevens Fixtures/Results

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Dubai Sevens Pool Tables

Saturday, December 4 –


AUSTRALIA v IRELAND, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, 9.44am local time/5.44am Irish time