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Ireland Men To Battle For Bronze After Narrow New Zealand Defeat

Ireland Men To Battle For Bronze After Narrow New Zealand Defeat

Ireland Men To Battle For Bronze After Narrow New Zealand Defeat

Jack Kelly grabbed Ireland's opening try during their Championship semi-final loss at the hands of New Zealand ©INPHO/Travis Prior

The Ireland Men fell just short in a seismic semi-final clash at the Rugby World Cup Sevens, as a Ngarohi McGarvey-Black hat-trick guided reigning champions New Zealand to a hard-fought 17-10 win.

Last night’s exertions in dumping hosts South Africa out of the tournament looked to be having an impact when Ireland (sponsored by TritonLake) were left trailing 10-0 after just two minutes.

McGarvey-Black reeled off a blistering brace of tries, but Jack Kelly capitalised on Moses Leo’s yellow card to halve the deficit for half-time.

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James Topping’s side maintained the momentum on the restart, Harry McNulty competing hard in the air and the breaking ball was run in by Andrew Smith for a levelling eighth-minute try.

Captain Billy Dardis missed the difficult conversion from the left, and despite some terrific work from the likes of Kelly and the tireless Terry Kennedy, Ireland were unable to snatch the decisive score.

Instead, the in-form McGarvey-Black came up trumps for the All Blacks Sevens in the 13th minute when converting pressure into points. The extras were added by replacement Kurt Baker.

The ball squirted out of a late Irish ruck, allowing New Zealand to turn defence into attack as they became the first team to qualify for three successive Sevens World Cup finals – they were champions in both 2013 and 2018.

Ireland will have their last runout at Cape Town Stadium at 7.25pm local time/6.25pm Irish time. Their Bronze final opponents are Australia, whom they beat to win the Challenge Trophy in San Francisco four years ago.

Speaking in the aftermath of such a gut-wrenching result, Jordan Conroy admitted: “It was a big semi-final, we knew we had a tough opponent. All we wanted to do was to play our game and bring it up a level from last night’s match.

“Unfortunately, the result didn’t go our way. It was a close match but that’s how the game goes sometimes, it is just small margins.

“The energy last night was just out of this world and just trying to replicate that was a little bit tough, playing so late and then getting up early. But that’s not really an excuse, that’s why teams are in the final.

“They just get on with it and bring it up a step further. I feel like we, as a team, are nearly there so, yeah, it’s just up from here.”

Ireland fell behind after just 29 seconds, Kennedy failing to gather the kick-off and New Zealand used the quick lineout to go to the far wing before Tone Ng Shiu’s impressive offload put McGarvey-Black over in the left corner.

The scoreboard showed 10-0 shortly afterwards, with referee Reuben Keane happy with the legality of New Zealand’s counter ruck and follow-up on Sean Cribbin that created a pathway to the try-line for McGarvey-Black.

A Kennedy turnover penalty lifted the men in green, and then another steal from the St. Mary’s College speedster – followed by nice work on the counter attack from Cribbin, McNulty and Kelly – finally got them on the front foot.

Leo took Kennedy out off the ball, earning a late first-half yellow, and Ireland’s patient build-up play was duly rewarded. McNulty put Kelly over in the right corner, but agonisingly, Mark Roche’s well-struck conversion was denied by the woodwork.

Luck was suddenly on Ireland’s side when the second half got underway. McNulty made a nuisance of himself and the ball bounced up invitingly for Smith to embark on a 35-metre run to the whitewash.

After Dardis pulled his conversion narrowly wide on the near side, the Ireland skipper went long from the restart and a favourable bounce may have seen the inrushing Kennedy score wide on the left.

Bryan Mollen denied Leo with a terrific try-saving tackle as New Zealand came hunting for their third score, which crucially came just a few moments later. Match winner McGarvey-Black slipped through past two tired tackles.

That energy-draining late night quarter-final, coupled with the injury-enforced absence of Hugo Lennox, caught up with Ireland in the end, but it was a valiant effort against one of the world’s most consistent Sevens outfits.

Conroy added: “Looking back to our first World Cup in San Francisco, as the newbies coming ninth, and being able to play for a medal four years later is absolutely amazing.

“It just shows the growth we have been through in the last four years. It would be another one for the history books for us (to win bronze), and hopefully, we can bring it home.”

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

Match Report: Conroy Double Drives Ireland Men To Famous Win Over Hosts

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 10 NEW ZEALAND 17, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith
New Zealand: Tries: Ngarohi McGarvey-Black 3; Con: Kurt Baker
HT: Ireland 5 New Zealand 10

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.

Championship Bronze Final –

IRELAND v AUSTRALIA, Cape Town Stadium, 7.25pm local time/6.25pm Irish time