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Roche Reaches World Series Century Mark In Cape Town

Roche Reaches World Series Century Mark In Cape Town

Roche Reaches World Series Century Mark In Cape Town

Mark Roche and Chay Mullins came off the bench to help the Ireland Men make a winning start to their HSBC Cape Town Sevens campaign ©INPHO/Christiaan Kotze

A brace of tries from Chay Mullins completed an opening 19-5 win for the Ireland Men over Japan at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens tournament.

The Ireland Men (sponsored by TritonLake) are top of Pool B heading into a busy Saturday schedule, which will see them play Uruguay and Samoa before a possible Cup quarter-final in the evening session.

The third leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series saw Mark Roche make history as he became the first Irishman to play 100 World Series matches.

The skilful scrum half achieved the milestone during the Japan game, which was a tough assignment for James Topping’s men. The sides scored a try apiece during a slow-burning first half.

Ireland took a third-minute lead, Aaron O’Sullivan’s nicely floated pass over the top releasing captain Harry McNulty to outpace Kameli Soejima on the left wing and go in behind the posts. Hugo Lennox converted.

The elusive Ren Miyagami was central to Japan’s quick response. The restart just evaded Irish hands and the Asian outfit soon broke downfield at pace, setting up youngster Taiyo Sugino to scoop a long pass out for Soejima to pull the deficit back to 7-5.

A couple of knock-ons spoiled Ireland’s hopes of hitting back before the half-time hooter, but Jack Kelly and Mullins both brought a physical impact off the bench as Ireland sought to build a match-winning cushion.

Mullins made it 12-5 in the 10th minute, two sidesteps near halfway allowing him to accelerate through and despite a committed chase from Sugino, the Connacht Academy player dotted down one-handed in the left corner.

It was far from plain sailing, though, as McNulty did just enough to prevent Yoshiyuki Koga from claiming a breakaway try. He had his foot in touch before grounding the ball, and Ireland regrouped with just a minute remaining.

Space opened up for McNulty to put Mullins darting clear on a 80-metre run-in, with Roche tagging on the conversion for a 14-point winning margin. Samoa beat Uruguay 21-10 in the other fixture in Ireland’s pool.

Topping’s charges are back in action tomorrow morning, facing 2022 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series champions Uruguay at 9.51am local time/7.51am Irish time. They lock horns with Samoa at 3.32pm local time/1.32pm Irish time.

You can watch all the World Series action live on the World Rugby Sevens website, while there will be updates across Irish Rugby social channels and reports here on IrishRugby.ie.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC Cape Town Sevens, Cape Town Stadium, December 9-11, 2022):

Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Will Goddard (IQ Rugby)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Bryan Mollen (UCD RFC)
Chay Mullins (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
Aaron O’Sullivan (UCD RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC Cape Town Sevens:

Friday, December 9 –


IRELAND 19 JAPAN 5, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Harry McNulty, Chay Mullins 2; Cons: Hugo Lennox, Mark Roche
Japan: Try: Kameli Soejima
HT: Ireland 7 Japan 5

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Aaron O’Sullivan, Zac Ward, Sean Cribbin, Hugo Lennox, Ed Kelly, Jordan Conroy.

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

Saturday, December 10 –


IRELAND v URUGUAY, Cape Town Stadium, 9.51am local time/7.51am Irish time

IRELAND v SAMOA, Cape Town Stadium, 3.32pm local time/1.32pm Irish time


Sunday, December 11 –