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Ireland Men Finish Fourth In Seville Play-Offs

Ireland Men Finish Fourth In Seville Play-Offs

Ireland's Zac Ward takes on JC Pretorius of South Africa during the sides' Cup quarter-final clash in Seville ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team finished just outside the medals in Seville, with a jump of three places from last week to fourth in the latest HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament.

Buoyed by their return to the semi-final stage, Anthony Eddy’s side had their moments against South Africa before the eventual champions pulled clear for a 26-0 victory.

The last day in Spain ended on a losing note for Ireland, with a 12-5 loss to Argentina in the bronze final, but the weekend’s efforts have move them level on points with fifth-placed France in the World Series standings.

Terry Kennedy remains the World Series’ top try scorer so far this season, adding three tries in Seville for 24 overall. Munster’s Conor Phillips also touched down three times.

There was little between Ireland, wearing their white jerseys, and South Africa during a cagey first five minutes. Kennedy was well marshalled, albeit that the Blitzboks were giving away penalties at the breakdown.

Against the run of play, South Africa ran a penalty from deep and Christie Grobbelaar evaded the clutches of Mark Roche on his way to the try-line.

Scoring opportunities continued to be limited but the World Series leaders were clinical again just before half-time. After a harsh call for a knock-on went against Aaron O’Sullivan, Shaun Williams sniped over in the left corner.

Two converted tries down, Ireland went the more direct route on the resumption as Zac Ward’s impressive fetch kicked off a promising set of attacking phases.

However, the South African defensive wall held firm and Justin Geduld turned a set piece move into five more points, despite the best efforts of Kennedy to deny him.

A few phases later, Selvyn Davids went to chase his own kick and Kennedy was sin-binned for impeding him. Niall Comerford then raced back to deny Mfundo Ndhlovu a try from another kick through.

There was still enough time for playmaker Davids to widen the winning margin to 26 points, as he retrieved his own stabbed kick down the middle and Williams converted.

Ireland were down to 10 fit players for their Seville finale, familiar rivals Argentina facing them again in the bronze final. Another close battle ensued, with a turnover apiece early on.

Kennedy unfortunately dropped the ball over the line as Eddy’s charges hunted down the opening try, with a Comerford turnover penalty and Tamilore Awonusi’s lineout work creating the opportunity.

Keeping the pressure on, O’Sullivan intercepted to score from a few metres out, his try going unconverted before the Pumas levelled before the break through the experienced Gaston Revol.

Argentina just had a canny knack of forcing errors and capitalising on them. Attacking off a miscued Irish lineout, they broke downfield and replacement Rodrigo Isgro reached over for a crucial 11th-minute try.

Felipe del Mestre added the extras, and despite a late turnover penalty won by Ward, Kennedy was pulled back for a forward pass from O’Sullivan as Ireland fell short of their first World Series medal since 2018.

The World Series now takes a break until April when the men’s teams will head to Singapore and Vancouver over consecutive weekends (April 9-10 and 17-18). The women’s sides head to Langford next on April 30-May 1.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC Spain Sevens, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla, Seville, January 2022):

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

HSBC WORLD RUGBY SEVENS SERIES – SPAIN SEVENS RESULTS:

Friday, January 28 –

POOL B:

IRELAND 33 GERMANY 5, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jack Kelly 2, Andrew Smith, Niall Comerford, Tamilore Awonusi; Cons: Mark Roche 4
Germany: Try: John Dawe
HT: Ireland 14 Germany 5

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

Subs used: Aaron O’Sullivan, Zac Ward, Conor Phillips, Tom Roche, Tamilore Awonusi.

Day 1 Round-Up: Winning Start For Ireland Men At Seville Sevens

Saturday, January 29 –

POOL B:

IRELAND 22 JAMAICA 0, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Conor Phillips, Terry Kennedy 2, Sean Kearns; Con: Mark Roche
Jamaica: –
HT: Ireland 7 Jamaica 0

Team: Zac Ward, Tamilore Awonusi, Tom Roche, Mark Roche (capt), Aaron O’Sullivan, Conor Phillips, Sean Kearns.

Subs used: Terry Kennedy, Bryan Mollen, Sean Cribbin, Jack Kelly, Niall Comerford.

ARGENTINA 19 IRELAND 12, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla
Scorers: Argentina: Tries: Santiago Vera Feld, Joaquin de la Vega, Marcos Moneta; Cons: Felipe del Mestre 2
Ireland: Tries: Conor Phillips, Terry Kennedy; Con: Mark Roche
HT: Argentina 12 Ireland 7

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

Subs used: Aaron O’Sullivan, Conor Phillips, Sean Kearns, Zac Ward. Not used: Tamilore Awonusi.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Spain Sevens Results

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Spain Sevens Pool Tables

CUP QUARTER-FINAL:

ENGLAND 12 IRELAND 24, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla
Scorers: England: Tries: Tom Bowen, Calum Randle; Con: Frederick Roddick
Ireland: Tries: Niall Comerford, Tom Roche, Mark Roche, Conor Phillips; Cons: Mark Roche 2
HT: England 5 Ireland 12

Team: Aaron O’Sullivan, Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy (capt), Mark Roche, Conor Phillips.

Subs used: Tom Roche, Tamilore Awonusi, Sean Kearns. Not used: Jack Kelly.

Day 2 Round-Up: Ireland Men Reach Last-Four With Victory Over England

Sunday, January 30 –

CUP SEMI-FINAL:

SOUTH AFRICA 26 IRELAND 0, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla
Scorers: South Africa: Tries: Christie Grobbelaar, Shaun Williams, Justin Geduld, Selvyn Davids; Cons: Selvyn Davids 2, Shaun Williams
Ireland: –
HT: South Africa 14 Ireland 0

Team: Aaron O’Sullivan, Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy (capt), Mark Roche, Conor Phillips.

Subs used: Sean Kearns, Tamilore Awonusi, Tom Roche. Not used: Jack Kelly.

BRONZE FINAL:

IRELAND 5 ARGENTINA 12, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Aaron O’Sullivan
Argentina: Tries: Gaston Revol, Rodrigo Isgro; Con: Felipe del Mestre
HT: Ireland 5 Argentina 5

Team: Aaron O’Sullivan, Zac Ward, Tamilore Awonusi, Terry Kennedy (capt), Mark Roche, Niall Comerford, Sean Kearns.

Subs used: Tom Roche, Conor Phillips, Sean Cribbin.