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Ireland Men Fall Short Against Samoa Despite Conroy Brace

Ireland Men Fall Short Against Samoa Despite Conroy Brace

Ireland Men Fall Short Against Samoa Despite Conroy Brace

Liam McNamara, a debutant for Ireland in Hamilton last week, is pictured in action against Samoa during the HSBC Sydney Sevens ©INPHO/Zach Franzen

The Ireland Men (sponsored by TritonLake) lost their grip on a half-time lead as Samoa fought back to win the opening match of the HSBC Sydney Sevens at Allianz Stadium.

James Topping’s charges lost out to Motu Opetai’s 14th-minute effort, falling to a 17-12 defeat after failing to add to Jordan Conroy’s first half brace of tries.

They will aim to bounce back against Spain (kick-off 9am local time/10pm Irish time) and the second-ranked USA (3.05pm local time/4.05am Irish time) when the pool stages conclude on Friday at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium.

Ireland were first to probe in their Pool C opener, Niall Comerford and Aaron O’Sullivan both carrying well before the latter’s kick through, near the right touchline, was dotted down by Faafoi Falaniko for a Samoan 22-metre drop out.

Conroy was then penalised for holding on, giving Samoa field position and they took full advantage, Paul Scanlan stepping inside both Harry McNulty and Comerford to score out wide on the right.

However, Ireland snapped back to lead 12-5 at the interval with Terry Kennedy growing in influence and Conroy showing his pace and finishing skills out wide.

Kennedy used scrum possession and his quick feet to fix a couple of defenders, flicking a pass out the back for Conroy who managed to stretch out of a tackle to cross the whitewash. Mark Roche added a terrific conversion.

Kennedy also provided the assist for the Tullamore man’s second try, following up on a strong run by Bryan Mollen to put his winger over in the right corner, past the covering Falaniko.

Nonetheless, it was Samoa who seized the initiative on the resumption. Ireland were left to rue a stolen lineout and some missed tackles as their lead was erased.

Vaa Apelu Maliko broke down the left, handing off Roche, and offloaded out of a tackle from McNulty for Neueli Leitufia to raid in under the posts and add the conversion for 12-all.

A kinder bounce might have seen replacement Andrew Smith respond from his own kick through, but it did lead to a penalty and vital field position for the men in green.

Crucially, Samoa tightened up in defence and gained serious momentum through Falaniko who shrugged off two tackles. Taunuu Niulevaea then popped up with a decisive offload, putting Opetai over to seal a last-minute win.

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 Sydney Sevens, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Australia, January 27-29, 2023):

Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC)
William Goddard (IQ Rugby)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Liam McNamara (IQ Rugby)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Bryan Mollen (UCD RFC)
Chay Mullins (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht/IQ Rugby)
Aaron O’Sullivan (UCD RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC Sydney Sevens:

Friday, January 27 –


IRELAND 12 SAMOA 17, Allianz Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy 2; Con: Mark Roche
Samoa: Tries: Paul Scanlan, Neueli Leitufia, Motu Opetai; Con: Neueli Leitufia
HT: Ireland 12 Samoa 5

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Aaron O’Sullivan, Niall Comerford, Mark Roche, Terry Kennedy, Bryan Mollen, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Liam McNamara. Not used: Billy Dardis, Ed Kelly.

Saturday, January 28 –


IRELAND v SPAIN, Allianz Stadium, 9am local time/10pm Irish time

USA v IRELAND, Allianz Stadium, 3.05pm local time/4.05am Irish time


Sunday, January 29 –