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Two Opening Wins For Ireland Men At Malaga Sevens

Two Opening Wins For Ireland Men At Malaga Sevens

Two Opening Wins For Ireland Men At Malaga Sevens

Jack Kelly is pictured on the attack during Ireland's opening pool match of the Malaga Sevens against Japan ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

The Ireland Men sit top of Pool B after two wins on the opening day of the inaugural Malaga leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Spain.

Captained by Bryan Mollen, Ireland opened the tournament with a 33-14 victory over Japan and also defeated invitational team Germany 24-7. Terry Kennedy led the scoring with three tries.

Tom Roche and Tamilore Awonusi both made their World Series debuts during the German game, and Anthony Eddy’s side will close out their pool campaign against Australia tomorrow (kick-off 12.33pm local time/11.33am Irish time).

A couple of well-placed offloads opened up the Irish defence for Japan’s Taiga Ishida to open the scoring, three minutes in. He converted his own try before Mollen led Ireland’s response.

Jack Kelly offloaded neatly out of a tackle for the skipper to canter clear from just inside the Irish half, and a second converted try quickly followed off a pinpoint restart.

Sean Kearns’ skyscraper of a kick had Japan under pressure, the ball broke loose and was picked up by Mollen who offloaded back inside for Mark Roche to gather and finish off to the left of the posts.

Kazuma Nakagawa evaded the clutches of both Mollen and Roche to level matters at 14-all for half-time, however Ireland were much stronger after the break as they ensured a winning start in the Spanish sunshine.

Kennedy was fed from an early scrum and used his pace to score from just outside Japan’s 22, successfully stretching for the line despite Taisei Hayashi’s last-ditch tackle.

Leinster Academy back Niall Comerford made it 26-14 late on, using some deft footwork to accelerate clean through from halfway, and Kennedy completed his brace from a clever kick in behind.

Having drawn 12-all with Australia, Germany came into their second round clash with Ireland in confident mood but fell behind to a third-minute try.

Conor Phillips carried to outside the German 22 and popped the ball up for Leinster’s Andrew Smith to snipe through, with a strong hand-off, to score under the posts. Roche converted.

It was seven points apiece at the break, Germany’s Fabian Heimpel breaking clear as they took advantage of Phillips’ yellow card after he went too high with an attempted clear-out.

Again though, Ireland were able to go up a gear or two during the concluding seven minutes. Kennedy went on a looping run and ghosted over in the right corner to make it 12-7.

Dublin University clubman Kelly had a muscular finish for try number three, bouncing off a couple of defenders after another sweeping charge from Kennedy.

Roche converted Cribbin’s closer in the 14th minute, with Kennedy brilliantly offloading off the deck and Comerford and Phillips supplying the final passes at the end of a slick attack.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC Spain Sevens, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga, Malaga, January 2022):

Tamilore Awonusi (IQ Rugby)
Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Sean Kearns (Ireland Sevens)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College RFC) (capt)
Chay Mullins (Bristol Bears/IQ Rugby)
Conor Phillips (Young Munster/Munster)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Tom Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)


Friday, January 21 –


IRELAND 33 JAPAN 14, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche, Terry Kennedy 2, Niall Comerford; Cons: Sean Kearns 2, Mark Roche 2
Japan: Tries: Taiga Ishida, Kazuma Nakagawa; Cons: Taiga Ishida
HT: Ireland 14 Japan 14

Team: Bryan Mollen (capt), Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche, Ed Kelly, Sean Kearns.

Subs used: Zac Ward, Sean Cribbin, Conor Phillips, Niall Comerford. Not used: Tamilore Awonusi.

IRELAND 24 GERMANY 7, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Andrew Smith, Terry Kennedy, Jack Kelly, Sean Cribbin; Cons: Mark Roche 2
Germany: Try: Fabian Heimpel; Con: Fabian Heimpel
HT: Ireland 7 Germany 7

Team: Bryan Mollen (capt), Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche, Conor Phillips.

Subs used: Niall Comerford, Tom Roche, Sean Kearns, Tamilore Awonusi. Not used: Ed Kelly.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Spain Sevens Fixtures/Results

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Spain Sevens Pool Tables

Saturday, January 22 –


AUSTRALIA v IRELAND, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga, 12.33pm local time/11.33am Irish time