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Strong Finish Sees Ireland Men Bag Bronze In Perth

Strong Finish Sees Ireland Men Bag Bronze In Perth

Strong Finish Sees Ireland Men Bag Bronze In Perth

Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy and Hugo Lennox celebrate with Gavin Mullin after he scored Ireland's fourth and final try against Fiji in Perth ©INPHO/Travis Hayto

Terry Kennedy and Gavin Mullin scored two tries each as the Ireland Men (sponsored by TritonLake) swept Fiji aside to finish as bronze medal winners at the HSBC SVNS Series tournament in Perth.

James Topping’s side cancelled out Josese Batirerega’s initial effort with four unanswered scores of their own, winning the 3rd place play-off on a 24-7 scoreline to delight the many Irish supporters at a sold-out HBF Park.

It was an important result for the Ireland Men – just their second ever victory in 15 meetings with Fiji on the circuit – and earned them 16 SVNS Series points to keep them in fifth place, level with South Africa (42 points), in the overall standings. Fiji and Australia are just two points ahead of them.

Argentina top the table by 14 points after being crowned champions for the second successive leg. The in-form Pumas ended Ireland’s title hopes at the semi-final stage, with Zac Ward replying with only try in a 24-5 defeat.

Nonetheless, with the Ireland Women making history with their first SVNS Series trophy win, this is the first time that both Ireland teams have medalled at the same SVNS Series tournament.

The Ireland Men have now won four SVNS Series medals, the first one coming at the 2018 London Sevens when they earned bronze as an invitational side. 2022 saw them compete in two Cup finals and bring home silver from Toulouse and Dubai.

This was only their third time to compete in a SVNS Series event in Australia, having finished sixth in Sydney in both 2020 and 2023. Kennedy, who was captain against Fiji as Harry McNulty was nursing an injury, was delighted to finish the weekend on a high.

“The last time out in Cape Town, we played Fiji in the 3rd place play-off as well and we put in a really poor performance (to lose 14-7) which we were disappointed with,” admitted the six-try playmaker afterwards.

“Obviously we had to wait a while to come back here and rectify it, and thankfully we did there. It’s unreal (to medal again).

“We want to keep pushing for semi-finals and kick into finals. But we talk about it, with the Olympics coming up this year, actually winning those 3rd place games is really important as well to put us in good stead for the year to come.”

The back-to-back rounds in Vancouver (February 23-25) and Los Angeles (March 2-3) are next up for the two Ireland squads. The pools have already been finalised for Canada with Topping’s charges heading up a tough Pool C, which includes South Africa, New Zealand, and Great Britain.

Ireland began day three in Perth with a repeat of their Cape Town Cup semi-final against Argentina, who were 26-19 winners of that clash. A frustrating first half left them chasing the Pumas, though, as they fell 19 points behind.

Powerhouse Luciano Gonzalez opened the scoring in the fourth minute, getting away from Jordan Conroy’s attempted tackle to cross to the left of the posts.

An airborne McNulty unfortunately knocked on the restart, allowing Argentina to build for a quick-fire second try. They attacked out to the left wing where Matias Ozadczuk, cutting inside from a Marcos Moneta pass, show good strength to make it 12-0.

The match officials missed a tackle off the ball on Niall Comerford, and the possession allowed Argentina to strike for a third touchdown past the half-time hooter. Santiago Mare offloaded for Moneta to raid in behind the posts.

Possession-starved Ireland brought on Jack Kelly and Ward after the break, and the latter, as he did against France yesterday, provided try-scoring impact. Ward stepped inside Rodrigo Isgro and powered past two more defenders for an excellent individual try.

The Ballynahinch clubman unfortunately had a heavy collision with German Schulz when competing for the restart. He battled on, but Ireland were unable to get back into try-scoring range with a key penalty conceded at the breakdown.

The Pumas clinched their place in a sixth successive Cup decider with a 12th-minute try from Isgro, who dived over in the right corner via a lobbed pass from Joaquin Pellandini. They are now unbeaten in ten Cup semi-finals, stretching back to the Seville leg in 2022.

That result left Ireland playing for bronze, and looking to avenge a couple of defeats to Fiji – 29-24 in Dubai and 14-7 in Cape Town – from earlier in the season.

Fiji’s big captain Joseva Talacolo was first to threaten from his own kick chase under a baking sun, but Ward got back to deny him just before the try-line.

Connor O’Sullivan and the fleet-footed Dylan O’Grady both made their seasonal bows this weekend having had their most recent SVNS Series appearances in London last May. The pair were heavily involved as Ireland probed for openings, in and around halfway.

Kennedy gained further ground, only for the ball to go loose at the ruck, allowing Fiji to counter for the opening try. Talacolo’s top class offload sent Batirerega away on a 55-metre run-in. Waisea Nacuqu converted from straight in front.

O’Sullivan, who had only played in two previous SVNS Series events, and Kennedy led a thrilling breakout which reached the Fijian 22. Mark Roche created a two-on-one scenario when sniping away from a scrum, and his well-timed pass put Kennedy in under the posts.

Roche’s straightforward conversion made it seven-all and he almost sparked a late second try before half-time. He combined with Ward down the right wing before O’Grady was tackled just a few metres short, yet a subsequent side-entry penalty let Fiji off the hook.

Ireland picked up where they left off on the resumption, with Kelly and O’Grady both making encouraging metres. Fiji coughed up a couple of penalties, and a lovely link-up saw Hugo Lennox’s return pass back inside send Kennedy over from the edge of the opposition 22.

With Lennox dispatching the conversion through the posts, Ireland were now 14-7 to the good with less than five minutes remaining. Chay Mullins palmed back the restart to fellow replacement Mullin, and the former then drew a penalty for a high tackle.

Last victorious against Fiji in Singapore back in 2022, Kennedy and his team-mates were clinical off the set-piece platform again. As first receiver, the St. Mary’s College ace slid across to send Conroy cutting through into the 22, and the supporting Mullin crossed from close range.

The cherry on top came in the final minute, as Kennedy invited Lennox to dummy and dart his way through a gap. His lofted pass, over the head of Vuiviwa Naduvalo, released Mullin to dive over for his eighth try of the season so far.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC SVNS Series – Perth 7s, HBF Park, Perth, Friday, January 26-Sunday, January 28, 2024):

Niall Comerford (UCD RFC)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College RFC)
Gavin Mullin (UCD RFC)
Chay Mullins (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht/IQ Rugby)
Dylan O’Grady (UCD RFC)
Connor O’Sullivan (Lansdowne FC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC SVNS Series – Perth:

Friday, January 26 –


Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy; Con: Hugo Lennox
Great Britain: Tries: Tom Emery, Robbie Fergusson; Con: Tom Emery
HT: Ireland 10 Great Britain 5

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Hugo Lennox, Jack Kelly, Connor O’Sullivan, Gavin Mullin. Not used: Chay Mullins.

Scorers: Ireland: Try: Terry Kennedy; Con: Hugo Lennox
USA: Tries: Kevon Williams, Naima Fuala’au, Perry Baker, Malacchi Esdale; Cons: Steve Tomasin 3
HT: Ireland 0 USA 21

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Connor O’Sullivan, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Gavin Mullin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Hugo Lennox, Jack Kelly, Niall Comerford, Sean Cribbin, Chay Mullins.

Day 1 Round-Up: Mixed Results For Ireland Men As HSBC SVNS Series Resumes

Saturday, January 27 –


Scorers: Australia: Tries: Darby Lancaster, Henry Palmer
Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy 2; Cons: Hugo Lennox 2
HT: Australia 5 Ireland 7

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Chay Mullins, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Zac Ward, Dylan O’Grady, Gavin Mullin.


Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Lennox, Penalty try, Zac Ward; Cons: Hugo Lennox, Pen try con, Mark Roche
France: Tries: Stephen Parez Edo Martin, Joseph Jefferson Lee; Cons: Stephen Parez Edo Martin 2
HT: Ireland 7 France 14

Team: Jack Kelly, Harry McNulty (capt), Chay Mullins, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Gavin Mullin, Mark Roche, Dylan O’Grady.

Sunday, January 28 –


Scorers: Ireland: Try: Zac Ward
Argentina: Tries: Luciano Gonzalez, Matias Osadczuk, Marcos Moneta, Rodrigo Isgro; Cons: Joaquin Pellandini, Santiago Mare
HT: Ireland 0 Argentina 19

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Chay Mullins, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Zac Ward, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Gavin Mullin, Dylan O’Grady.


Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy 2, Gavin Mullin 2; Cons: Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox
Fiji: Try: Josese Batirerega; Con: Waisea Nacuqu
HT: Ireland 0 Argentina 19

Team: Zac Ward, Connor O’Sullivan, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy (capt), Dylan O’Grady.

Replacements used: Hugo Lennox, Gavin Mullin, Chay Mullins, Jordan Conroy, Niall Comerford.