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Ireland Men Kick Off Canada Sevens In High-Scoring Form

Ireland Men Kick Off Canada Sevens In High-Scoring Form

Ireland Men Kick Off Canada Sevens In High-Scoring Form

A bandaged Andrew Smith races through to score against host nation Canada in Vancouver ©World Rugby/HSBC Canada Sevens

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) ran in 13 tries and conceded only two during a productive opening day at the HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver.

Dylan O’Grady, a World Series debutant in Hong Kong back in November, matched Jordan Conroy’s three-try tally as Ireland ran out convincing winners over both Canada (35-5) and Chile (50-7).

The night session under BC Place’s roof saw James Topping’s men put eight tries past invitational team Chile, leaving them top of the Pool D table on six points.

The pool stages will come to an exciting conclusion later today, with Ireland facing an Australia side smarting from a surprise 29-12 defeat to Canada. The pool decider kicks off at 2.57pm local time/10.57pm Irish time.

Conroy’s brace against the Chileans leaves him just one try away from becoming the first Irishman to score 100 World Series tries.

The Ireland Men currently sit ninth in the World Series standings and require a strong performance this weekend to inject momentum into their season, as they look to close the gap on the top four teams who occupy the Olympic qualification berths.

Andrew Smith’s big tackle on Josiah Morra typified Ireland’s aggression in defence early on against Canada, the same player popping up with a turnover just a few phases later.

Following a Harry McNulty lineout steal, Conroy broke from a ruck in midfield, released the ball after a tackle and regathered it to dart in behind the posts ahead of the chasing Morra.

Hugo Lennox burst in between two defenders to add to Ireland’s lead, with Mark Roche landing his second conversion. His younger brother Tom’s work at the breakdown had forced the initial penalty.

A sidestepping Smith used first phase ball from a scrum to sidestep inside Josh Thiel and accelerate away from halfway, making it 21-0 at half-time.

The Leinster Academy back doubled his tally just after the restart which Jack Kelly tapped back on Ireland’s side. Strong running and well-timed offloads from both Lennox and captain McNulty played in Smith to tag on seven more points.

Morra battled well to deny Conroy a second try, ripping the ball free past the try-line, and Canada got on the scoreboard in the 12th minute when replacement Kalin Sager crossed from Lachlan Kratz’s return pass.

Nonetheless, the fresh legs of O’Grady – coupled with a pinpoint Billy Dardis conversion – wrapped up a 30-point winning margin for Ireland, who attacked both wings off a lineout, Bryan Mollen supplying the final pass for the 20-year-old winger to race over near the left corner.

Smith set the tone again for Ireland against Chile, producing a powerful tackle and a turnover penalty. Another one, this time secured by McNulty, set up Mollen to tap and barge his way over from close range.

Mark Roche converted and added a quick-fire second seven-pointer, with McNulty, Smith and Matt McDonald all involved in the build-up before the experienced scrum half sliced through from a tapped penalty.

UCD youngster O’Grady then made it 21-0, set free on the right by Mollen, and the duo combined again for Ireland’s fourth try, the preceding phase seeing Mollen almost make it over with a fine burst off a scrum inside his own half.

Leading 26-0 at the break, Ireland threatened a breakaway try early in the second half. Zac Ward retrieved a Chilean kick and countered impressively, only to be stopped by Dante Marchese inside the South Americans’ 22.

Nice hands released Diego Greiber to dash over from the right wing, pulling back seven points, but Ireland’s bench ensured they hit the half-century mark by the end.

Fed off the back of a scrum, Conroy scorched over from just inside halfway, shrugging off two defenders in the process. Inside the final two minutes, Tom Roche used a quick tap to register a sixth try and make it 36-7.

There was still time for two more tries, both converted by Dardis. Ward gobbled up the breaking ball from the restart to charge in under the posts, and Conroy had too much pace on the outside for Manuel Bustamante.

You can watch all the action as the Ireland Men compete at BC Place, via the World Rugby Sevens Match Centre here. You will need to register for a free World Rugby account.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC Canada Sevens, BC Place, Vancouver, Canada, March 3-5, 2023):

Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Matt McDonald (IQ Rugby)
Tom Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Bryan Mollen (UCD FC)
Dylan O’Grady (UCD RFC)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC Canada Sevens:

Friday, March 3 –


Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Hugo Lennox, Andrew Smith 2, Dylan O’Grady; Cons: Mark Roche 4, Billy Dardis
Canada: Try: Kalin Sager
HT: Ireland 21 Canada 0

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Jack Kelly, Tom Roche, Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Andrew Smith, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Niall Comerford, Bryan Mollen, Zac Ward, Billy Dardis, Dylan O’Grady.

Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche, Dylan O’Grady 2, Jordan Conroy 2, Tom Roche, Zac Ward; Cons: Mark Roche 3, Billy Dardis 2
Chile: Try: Diego Greiber; Con: Luca Strabucchi
HT: Ireland 26 Chile 0

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Jack Kelly, Matthew McDonald, Mark Roche, Bryan Mollen, Andrew Smith, Dylan O’Grady.

Subs used: Billy Dardis, Zac Ward, Hugo Lennox, Jordan Conroy, Tom Roche.

Saturday, March 4 –


AUSTRALIA v IRELAND, BC Place, 2.57pm local time/10.57pm Irish time


Sunday, March 5 –