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Ireland Men Reach Toulouse Quarter-Finals With Record-Breaking Win

Ireland Men Reach Toulouse Quarter-Finals With Record-Breaking Win

Ireland Men Reach Toulouse Quarter-Finals With Record-Breaking Win

Ballynahinch's Zac Ward crossed for two tries during Ireland's morning clash with Japan in Toulouse ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

A record-breaking win sent the Ireland Men (sponsored by TritonLake) through to the Cup quarter-finals at the HSBC France Sevens in Toulouse.

They racked up 10 tries to beat Japan 66-0 in their final Pool D fixture, setting a new Irish record for the highest score and biggest winning margin in a HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series match.

The Ireland Men’s previous largest victories on the World Series circuit were 59-7 against China and 56-0 against Thailand, both at the 2000 Hong Kong Sevens when current head coach James Topping was part of the squad.

Zac Ward, captain Harry McNulty and Andrew Smith contributed two tries each in the Japan game, as Ireland advanced as pool runners-up to face New Zealand in today’s quarter-finals (kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time).

Shock 12-7 winners over Ireland in Singapore last month, relegation-threatened Japan fell behind in the second minute when Jordan Conroy pirouetted out of a tackle and romped clear from halfway for the opening try, converted by Billy Dardis.

The former skipper brought his kicking boots to Stade Ernest Wallon, arrowing all eight of his conversions between the posts to finish with a 16-point haul.

Ward tapped down the restart kick to Niall Comerford and then picked from the ruck, his jinking run from 40 metres out taking him over the whitewash. Dardis’ inviting restarts continued to be hoovered up by Ireland.

Following turnover ball won from a scrum and some side-to-side phases, McNulty’s arcing run took him in behind the posts. Ward gobbled up another restart, swatted away two defenders and sent Sean Cribbin in to make it 28-0 at the break.

The excellent Ward showed his power again inside the second half’s opening minute, using a big hand-off and taking two more defenders over the line to complete his brace.

McNulty forced a turnover and Cribbin fed the newly-introduced Smith for a 30-metre run-in, Dardis adding the extras for a 42-0 lead. It was a quick-fire double for Smith thanks to a one-handed carry and a slick sidestep.

The Connacht-bound player’s clever footwork unlocked the Japanese defence for fellow replacement Jack Kelly to score. Before being replaced, Dardis converted from straight in front to complete his 100% kicking return.

There was still time for two more tries, replacement Liam McNamara using a loose Japan pass to get on the scoresheet before Smith hunted down Mark Roche’s restart and fed McNulty to take his team’s try tally into double figures.

You can watch all the action on the World Rugby Sevens Series website and app, while there will be live updates throughout the weekend on the Irish Rugby Twitter and Instagram pages.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC France Sevens, Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse, Friday, May 12-Sunday, May 14, 2023):

Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC)
Sean Galvin (Lansdowne FC)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Connor O’Sullivan (Lansdowne FC/IQ Rugby)
Liam McNamara (IQ Rugby)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Bryan Mollen (UCD RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC France Sevens:

Friday, May 12 –


SAMOA 12 IRELAND 14, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: Samoa: Tries: Paul Scanlan, Faafoi Falaniko; Con: Neueli Leitufia
Ireland: Tries: Billy Dardis, Harry McNulty; Cons: Billy Dardis, Mark Roche
HT: Samoa 7 Ireland 7

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Billy Dardis, Sean Cribbin, Bryan Mollen, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Liam McNamara, Connor O’Sullivan, Mark Roche.

AUSTRALIA 12 IRELAND 5, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: Australia: Tries: Henry Paterson, Nick Malouf; Con: Maurice Longbottom
Ireland: Try: Liam McNamara
HT: Australia 0 Ireland 5

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Connor O’Sullivan, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Liam McNamara, Andrew Smith, Sean Galvin.

Subs used: Sean Cribbin, Jordan Conroy, Zac Ward, Billy Dardis, Bryan Mollen.

Day 1 Round-Up: Debuts For O’Sullivan And Galvin As Ireland Men Begin Toulouse Campaign

Saturday, May 13 –


JAPAN 0 IRELAND 66, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: Japan: –
Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Zac Ward 2, Harry McNulty 2, Sean Cribbin, Andrew Smith 2, Jack Kelly, Liam McNamara; Cons: Billy Dardis 8
HT: Japan 0 Ireland 28


NEW ZEALAND v IRELAND, Stade Ernest Wallon, 6pm local time/5pm Irish time

Sunday, May 14 –