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Victory Over Spain Earns Last-Eight Berth For Ireland Men

Victory Over Spain Earns Last-Eight Berth For Ireland Men

Victory Over Spain Earns Last-Eight Berth For Ireland Men

Zac Ward is pictured during the build-up to his try for the Ireland Men's Sevens team against Spain in Toulouse ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

The Ireland Men will meet Argentina in the Cup quarter-finals this evening (kick-off 5.04pm Irish time) after a dramatic finish to the pool stages at the HSBC France Sevens in Toulouse.

Watch the HSBC France Sevens live here via World Rugby

James Topping’s side squeezed through to the last-eight as Pool D runners-up, defeating Spain 26-21 and getting a favourable result in the other game as a resurgent Samoa completed the clean sweep against South Africa.

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Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy, the World Series’ leading try scorer, Zac Ward and Andrew Smith all touched down as Ireland advanced to their sixth Cup quarter-final of the 2022 campaign.

They were unsure of their place in the last-eight until the Samoans ran out 19-7 winners over the Blitzboks, who missed out on the quarter-finals for the first time since 2013.

Ireland will be out for revenge against Argentina, the champions last time out in Vancouver. Los Pumas have won all five of the sides’ meetings on the World Series circuit this season, including a 12-5 Bronze final success in Seville.

Jack Kelly, Mark Roche and Sean Kearns came into the starting line-up for Ireland’s final pool clash with Spain, who lost to Samoa (42-12) and South Africa (27-7) at the Stade Ernest Wallon yesterday.

The wily Pol Pla did just enough to deny Conroy an early try in the 30-degree heat, and the resulting penalty allowed the rangy Tobias Sainz-Trapaga to charge downfield and open the scoring at 7-0.

Conroy got the better of Pla the next time, quickly bringing Ireland level after being released from halfway by Harry McNulty. More of the game was now being played in the Spanish half.

The industrious Smith locked onto a ball to win a penalty at the breakdown, and Kennedy took it quickly to outpace Pla for the left corner and move Ireland ahead for the first time.

Sainz-Trapaga provided the inspiration for los Leones again, bursting onto a pass to score from just outside the Spanish 22. Trailing 14-12 at the break, Ireland had plenty to do in order to stay in contention for the quarter-finals.

They stayed patient and were rewarded in the 11th minute when running back-to-back penalties, Smith retrieving a bobbling effort before Ballynahinch clubman Ward burrowed over from close range.

Captain Billy Dardis converted and also added the extras to Smith’s zippy 13th-minute score, the Leinster Academy youngster breaking free from the Spanish 10-metre line after two well-timed offloads from Kennedy and Ward.

Spain were left kicking themselves, though, as Tiago Romero blew a certain try – Kennedy reeled him in and then the same player knocked on with numbers on the left.

Spain’s persistence was rewarded with a consolation score with the clock in the red, getting the ball wide on the right for replacement Francisco Soriano to touch down despite the best efforts of the chasing McNulty.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC France Sevens, Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse, May 20-22, 2022):

Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC) (capt)
Sean Kearns (Ireland Sevens)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College RFC)
Chay Mullins (IQ Rugby)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Tom Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)


Friday, May 20 –


SOUTH AFRICA 12 IRELAND 21, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: South Africa: Tries: Mfundo Ndhlovu, Siviwe Soyizwapi; Con: Ronald Brown
Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy 2, Jack Kelly; Cons: Billy Dardis 3
HT: South Africa 7 Ireland 7

Team: Harry McNulty, Zac Ward, Andrew Smith, Billy Dardis (capt), Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy, Hugo Lennox.

Subs used: Bryan Mollen, Chay Mullins, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche. Not used: Sean Kearns.

SAMOA 27 IRELAND 14, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: Samoa: Tries: Steve Onosai 2, Paul Scanlan 2; Cons: Melani Matavao 2; Pen: Melani Matavao
Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Jack Kelly; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
HT: Samoa 5 Ireland 14

Team: Harry McNulty, Zac Ward, Andrew Smith, Billy Dardis (capt), Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy, Hugo Lennox.

Subs used: Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Bryan Mollen, Tom Roche, Chay Mullins.

Day 1 Round-Up: Ireland Men Falter In Second Half Against Samoa

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – France Sevens Fixtures/Results

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – France Sevens Pool Tables

Saturday, May 21 –


IRELAND 26 SPAIN 21, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy, Zac Ward, Andrew Smith; Cons: Sean Kearns, Billy Dardis 2
Spain: Tries: Tobias Sainz-Trapaga 2, Francisco Soriano; Cons: Juan Martinez, Juan Ramos 2
HT: Ireland 12 Spain 14

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche, Sean Kearns.

Subs used: Zac Ward, Tom Roche, Chay Mullins, Hugo Lennox, Billy Dardis.


ARGENTINA v IRELAND, Stade Ernest Wallon, 6.04pm local time/5.04pm Irish time

Sunday, May 22 –


All matches live on the World Rugby stream here.