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Kennedy: Happy To Get Through Without Conceding

Kennedy: Happy To Get Through Without Conceding

Kennedy: Happy To Get Through Without Conceding

In-form playmaker Terry Kennedy is pictured in action during Ireland's Rugby World Cup Sevens opener against Portugal ©INPHO/Travis Prior

Try scorer Terry Kennedy was pleased with the Ireland Men’s defensive effort as he reflected on their 24-0 pre-round of 16 win over Portugal at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town.

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Two tries in each half – Kennedy, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin and Bryan Mollen all touched down – saw Ireland win this morning’s opening match of the World Cup against their European rivals.

James Topping’s side, who are the ninth seeds, will face England in a mouth-watering round of 16 clash at 2.39pm local time/1.39pm Irish time.

The winners will advance to tomorrow night’s Championship quarter-finals, and a possible showdown with host nation South Africa at 10.33pm local time/9.33pm Irish time.

Speaking after playing in the RWC Sevens curtain raiser, Kennedy commented: “We knew it was going to be a tough one first off, an 8.45am kick-off against a really tough hard-working Portuguese team.

“We knew we’d have our work cut out and we worked really hard for each other out there. I think it showed especially keeping them out off that counter-attack in the first half. We’re really happy to get through that one conceding no tries.

“We set ourselves a goal of working really hard for ourselves on ‘D’ and hoping the attack looks after itself so that’s right to the final whistle. We don’t really want to concede, so it was really pleasing to show all of our workload at the end there.”

Tributes were paid to Queen Elizabeth II and rugby commentator Willie Los’e, whose deaths were announced yesterday, before scrum half Mark Roche launched the first kick-off of the World Cup skywards.

Wearing their brand new Canterbury home kit, Ireland hit the front in the second minute when Kennedy dinked a kick through from around 40 metres out, dribbled it on and grounded the ball behind the posts.

Following Roche’s conversion, Portugal gained territory through the boot, but another Irish kick soon paid dividends. Lennox retrieved his own kick through, linking with Jack Kelly before the return pass put the Skerries man over.

Although Nuno Sousa Guedes launched a promising counter attack for the Portuguese nearing half-time, Ireland’s defence held firm with Kennedy bringing down Vasco Ribeiro and the scoreline remained 12-0.

Cribbin and Andrew Smith came on to increase Ireland’s World Cup debutants to seven, the latter’s sidestepping run just spoiled by a knock-on as he looked to be on the cusp of setting up a try.

That third score did arrive in the 10th minute, Cribbin crossing to the left of the posts after Kelly had forced a turnover penalty and Kennedy and Roche had provided the quick hands. Roche missed the conversion.

Harry McNulty saw yellow for ‘pulling down an arm in the air’ at the restart, but in his absence, Ireland completed the scoring when Chay Mullins’ jinking run and well-timed pass gave Mollen a 40-metre run-in. Captain Billy Dardis converted.

Looking forward to the England encounter, Kennedy added: “It’s going to be tough, obviously England are going into it fresh, we’ve got a game under our belt. That can work for you or against you.

“Hopefully it works for us. We’re going to go back now, rest up for a bit and again it’s another knockout match so leave everything on the line – you’re not saving yourself for anything.”

All of Ireland’s games are live on the RTÉ Player in the Republic of Ireland, while there will be coverage across Irish Rugby social media channels and on IrishRugby.ie. A full list of broadcasters is available here.

The Ireland Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams are wearing their brand new Canterbury kit for the World Cup in Cape Town. Click here to buy the new jerseys online from Intersport Elverys.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, September 9-11, 2022):

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

IRELAND MEN’S RWC Sevens Schedule –

Friday, September 9:

Pre-Round Of 16 –

IRELAND 24 PORTUGAL 0, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Bryan Mollen; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis
Portugal: –
HT: Ireland 12 Portugal 0

Team: Matt McDonald, Jack Kelly, Harry McNulty, Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Chay Mullins.

Subs used: Sean Cribbin, Andrew Smith, Bryan Mollen, Billy Dardis (capt), Jordan Conroy.

Rugby World Cup Sevens – Fixtures/Results

Round Of 16 –

ENGLAND v IRELAND, Cape Town Stadium, 2.39pm local time/1.39pm Irish time