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Argentina End Ireland Men’s Cup Hopes in Malaga

Argentina End Ireland Men’s Cup Hopes in Malaga

Zac Ward goes over to score the match-winning try for Ireland against Australia in Malaga ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

The Ireland Men’s team were knocked out of the Cup competition by Argentina on the second day of the Malaga leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

A terrific last-minute try from Zac Ward saw Ireland defeat Australia 10-5 to progress to the last-eight as winners of Pool B, following three victories on the trot.

However, they came unstuck against high-flying Argentina at the Cup quarter-final stage. A Conor Phillips try kept them in the hunt, but los Pumas ran out impressive 29-5 winners.

Coached by Anthony Eddy and James Topping, Ireland will regroup for tomorrow’s 5th place semi-final against France (kick-off 1.47pm local time/12.47pm Irish time). Canada and the USA are in the other semi.

This morning’s session saw Ireland close out the pool stages against Australia, a team they had only beaten once in five meetings since becoming a core World Series side.

A sweeping first-minute attack netted Mark Roche a cracking team try, as he stepped inside the final defender after Bryan Mollen’s initial break, a mazy run and long pass from Terry Kennedy, and a neat assist from Jack Kelly.

The conversion nudged wide, Ireland had to show plenty of defensive grit as Phillips hauled down Chris Kuridrani. Kelly then came up with a big turnover penalty during Sean Cribbin’s sin-binning.

However, Australia struck past the half-time, Kuridrani getting past two defenders and offloaded for Maurice Longbottom to draw his side level at five-all.

Ireland tackled tenaciously for much of the second half. Ed Kelly injured himself in bringing down Dietrich Roache just a few metres out, with Kennedy then forcing a penalty at the breakdown.

Roche did likewise and although the men in green were starved of territory, they continued to frustrate the tournament’s third-ranked team in a tense finale.

Ireland swarmed up in defence, leading to an Australian passing error and they took their last chance to score right on the final hooter.

From the resulting lineout, Kelly was the jumper and he brilliantly spun around on landing, breaking downfield and passing on the Australian 22 for the supporting Ward to finish off in the left corner.

With a semi-final place up for grabs, Ireland were hoping to avenge a 17-12 Dubai defeat to Argentina from November. The omens were not good, though, as the Argentinians broke into a 17-point lead by half-time.

The excellent Marcos Moneta raided over from the right wing in the second minute, adding a second from his own kick through, before Luciano Gonzalez stung Ireland further just past the half-time hooter.

Good work from Roche and Kennedy released Phillips who weaved in and out to finish smartly in the left corner. Roche was unable to convert at 17-5 down.

Penalties proved costly for Ireland during the remaining minutes, as los Pumas worked the ball wide for German Schulz to score and Gonzalez completed his brace.

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.

Day 1 Round-Up: Two Opening Wins For Ireland Men At Malaga Sevens

Saturday, January 22 –


AUSTRALIA 5 IRELAND 10, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga
Scorers: Australia: Try: Maurice Longbottom
Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Zac Ward
HT: Australia 5 Ireland 5

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

Subs used: Ed Kelly, Niall Comerford, Tom Roche, Zac Ward. Not used: Sean Kearns.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Spain Sevens Fixtures/Results

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Spain Sevens Pool Tables


IRELAND 5 ARGENTINA 29, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Conor Phillips
Argentina: Tries: Marcos Moneta 2, Luciano Gonzalez 2, German Sculz; Cons: Felipe del Mestre, Joaquin Lamas
HT: Ireland 0 Argentina 17

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

Subs used: Zac Ward, Tom Roche, Niall Comerford, Sean Kearns, Tamilore Awonusi.

Sunday, January 23 –


FRANCE v IRELAND, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga, 1.47pm local time/12.47pm Irish time