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Conroy Double Drives Ireland Men To Famous Win Over Hosts

Conroy Double Drives Ireland Men To Famous Win Over Hosts

Conroy Double Drives Ireland Men To Famous Win Over Hosts

Watched by his team-mates on the sideline, Jordan Conroy breaks free to score Ireland's fourth and final try against South Africa ©INPHO/Travis Prior

The Ireland Men pieced together three second half tries, including a brace from Jordan Conroy, to stun hosts South Africa and qualify for tomorrow’s Rugby World Cup Sevens semi-finals.

Roche And Mollen Savour ‘Special’ Result As Ireland Are Semi-Final Bound

In the final match of a blockbuster night session in front of a partisan Cape Town crowd, James Topping’s side prevailed 24-14 over the Blitzboks, who were highly-fancied in coach Neil Powell’s farewell tournament.

However, Ireland (sponsored by TritonLake) had other ideas and having beaten South Africa for the first time during this year’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, they followed up with an even better performance.

Mark Roche and Muller du Plessis swapped first half tries, the experienced scrum half crossing from a close-in ruck in the third minute after forceful carries from Harry McNulty, who was excellent throughout, and Conroy.

Topping’s charges took their game to another level on the restart, diligently building for crucial scores from McNulty (10 minutes) and ace finisher Conroy (11 and 14), with captain Billy Dardis adding a single conversion.

Mfundo Ndhlovu responded, but his try came with the clock well in the red, as the Ireland Men move on as the only northern hemisphere team left standing, joining New Zealand, Australia and Fiji in the last-four.

Ireland will lock horns with New Zealand, the defending champions, tomorrow (kick-off 12.35pm local time/11.35am Irish time), in what will be only Irish Rugby’s second ever Rugby World Cup Sevens semi-final appearance.

An Ireland team coached by Noel Murphy reached the semi-final stage of the inaugural Sevens World Cup at Murrayfield back in 1993. They were edged out 21-19 by Australia, the eventual runners-up.

The class of 2022, minus the injured Hugo Lennox, recovered from Roche’s overcooked kick-off and a scrum penalty to steadily build the phases from inside their own 22.

Wearing their new white-shirted Canterbury alternate kit, Ireland made good metres through Roche, Conroy and then Andrew Smith, set free up the left touchline by a Terry Kennedy offload.

McNulty and Conroy went the direct route from the edge of the 22, getting Roche in range to spring clean through from a ruck – thanks to Jack Kelly’s clear-out – and register the opening seven points from just a few metres out.

An early tackle by Smith, the Leinster Academy winger, on Christie Grobbelaar denied him a quick-fire second try, with the TMO decision going against Ireland on this occasion.

Ronald Brown’s pass was too high as he blew a try-scoring opportunity for Sakoyisa Makata. Du Plessis then took the wrong option, Ireland scrambling back to deny him but South Africa did get on the board before the break.

The otherwise impressive Irish lineout malfunctioned, the ball going over the top and JC Pretorius gobbled it up to charge up close to the try-line. A couple of passes later, du Plessis had an easy run-in and the game was tied – 7-7.

Successive lineout steals by McNulty saw Ireland increase the pressure on the home side, the newly-introduced Bryan Mollen going quickly from a penalty. McNulty used the ruck ball to throw a dummy and then crash over to make it 12-7.

The men in white were then clinical when pouncing on a Pretorius knock-on, the inrushing Matt McDonald flicking it up to Mollen who invited Conroy through on the switch, and the space suddenly opened for the Tullamore man to scamper over to the right of the posts.

The team’s third try was topped off by a neat conversion from Dardis, giving Ireland some breathing space at 19-7 with less than three minutes remaining.

Topping’s men were able to control possession following a South African forward pass, working it from wing to wing. When they came back to the left, Chay Mullins and Kennedy combined to very good effect, sending Conroy over untouched in the corner.

The only blip during the dying seconds was a converted effort from Ndhlovu, who got free wide on the left after South Africa had belatedly strung phases together and found some gaps in the well-organised Irish defence.

Giving his reaction afterwards, Ireland skipper Dardis said: “It’s insane. That’s a World Cup quarter-final against South Africa on their own patch, it actually really doesn’t get much bigger.

“We seemed to weather the storm when they had that purple patch in the first half. It’s pretty cool to say you’re in a World Cup semi-final now. We said we wanted to come out here and kill the party a little bit.

“It’s some atmosphere. I think they would have lived on that if they’d got a bit of momentum in the first half, but we did well to get that first try and then keep the pressure on.”

Asked about their semi-final opponents, the Naas man added: “New Zealand are the only team we haven’t beaten on the World Series.

“We’ve been pretty close the last year or two but yeah, this is massive. The World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, it’s going to be class. We’re going to be fired up.”

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

Match Report: Kennedy: Happy To Get Through Without Conceding

Team: Harry McNulty, Matt McDonald, Jack Kelly 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 5 IRELAND 17, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: England: Try: Charlton Kerr
Ireland; Tries: Harry McNulty, Mark Roche, Jordan Conroy; Con: Mark Roche
HT: England 0 Ireland 7

Match Report: Ireland Men Overcome England To Reach Quarter-Final Stage

Team: Harry McNulty, Andrew Smith, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Sean Cribbin, Chay Mullins, Matt McDonald, Bryan Mollen.

Saturday, September 10:

Championship Quarter-Final –

IRELAND 24 SOUTH AFRICA 14, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Harry McNulty, Jordan Conroy 2; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis
South Africa: Tries: Muller du Plessis, Mfundo Ndhlovu; Cons: Ronald Brown, Selvyn Davids
HT: Ireland 7 South Africa 7

Team: Harry McNulty, Andrew Smith, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Bryan Mollen, Matt McDonald, Chay Mullins.

Sunday, September 11:

Championship Semi-Final –

IRELAND v NEW ZEALAND, Cape Town Stadium, 12.35pm local time/11.35am Irish time