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Ireland Men Beat Blitzboks To Reach Vancouver’s Last-Eight

Ireland Men Beat Blitzboks To Reach Vancouver’s Last-Eight

Ireland Men Beat Blitzboks To Reach Vancouver’s Last-Eight

Zac Ward, Ireland's two-try hero, is pictured on the attack against South Africa at BC Place in Vancouver ©Mike Lee/KLC Fotos for World Rugby

With Zac Ward weighing in with two tries, the Ireland Men (sponsored by TritonLake) overcame South Africa to advance to the Cup quarter-finals at the HSBC SVNS Series tournament in Vancouver.

Hugo Lennox and Gavin Mullin also touched down during the 22-10 victory, as Ireland’s best performance of the weekend so far saw them jump above the Blitzboks to finish third in Pool C and book a quarter-final berth.

Intriguingly, it will be a European derby in the last-eight as James Topping’s side come up against Pool B winners France, who have 15s star Antoine Dupont making his Sevens debut in Canada. The game kicks off at 7.28pm local time/3.28am Irish time (live on RugbyPass TV).

Chasing a vital first win in the ‘pool of death’, Ireland’s impressive ball retention off the kick-off, which was won by Ward, resulted in a second-minute try. Mullin had to dive on one loose ball, but it was a strong collective start full of direct running and attacking intent.

The in-form Ward brilliantly outmuscled two South African defenders and had two more for company as he stretched out to score one-handed, with TMO Matt Rodden confirming the grounding. Lennox slid the conversion wide.

South Africa got speed merchant Shilton van Wyk on the ball, and a tap penalty provided the platform for captain Selvyn Davids to send David Brits over in the right corner to tie up the game at five points apiece.

Lennox battled hard to force a knock-on from Zain Davids, and Ireland used the possession wisely. Their patient build-up play led to Ward shrugging of two tackles on halfway, charging through and taking a return offload from Terry Kennedy to score out wide.

Armed with a 10-5 interval lead, Ireland, and Ward in particular, continued to swat away tacklers. A penalty put them in range again, and a clever lineout move saw receiver Harry McNulty immediately deliver the ball back down to Lennox who scampered over on a 15-metre run-in.

With 11 minutes on the clock, Mullin finished off try number four in the left corner after Jordan Conroy had sucked in two defenders before releasing him. Mullin’s ninth try of the current campaign was neatly converted by Billy Dardis for a 22-5 scoreline.

The Blitzboks pulled back five points when Rosko Specman crossed out wide from Justin Geduld’s long pass. Their restart kick did not go 10 metres, though, and following a reset scrum on halfway, Dardis fed Kennedy to kick the ball dead and seal Ireland’s progress to the last-eight.

You can watch all of the HSBC SVNS Series matches for free on RugbyPass TV, while there will be coverage of Ireland’s progress in Vancouver across the new @Ireland7s social media channels, and in our Ireland Sevens hub: irishrugby.ie/ireland7s.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC SVNS Series – Vancouver 7s, BC Place, Vancouver, Friday, February 23-Sunday, February 25, 2024):

Niall Comerford (UCD RFC)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Matthew McDonald (Ireland Sevens)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Gavin Mullin (UCD RFC)
Chay Mullins (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht/IQ Rugby)
Connor O’Sullivan (Lansdowne FC)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

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

Friday, February 23 –


Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Zac Ward; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
Great Britain: Tries: Robbie Fergusson, Morgan Williams, Will Homer; Con: Tom Emery
HT: Ireland 14 Great Britain 7

Team: Zac Ward, Matthew McDonald, Harry McNulty (capt), Billy Dardis, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Niall Comerford, Hugo Lennox, Chay Mullins, Gavin Mullin. Not used: Ed Kelly.

Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Niall Comerford, Connor O’Sullivan; Cons: Hugo Lennox 2
New Zealand: Tries: Joe Webber, Akuila Rokolisoa, Tepaea Cook Savage; Cons: Akuila Rokolisoa 2
HT: Ireland 0 New Zealand 14

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Chay Mullins, Billy Dardis, Gavin Mullin, Terry Kennedy, Ed Kelly.

Replacements used: Hugo Lennox, Jordan Conroy, Zac Ward, Sean Cribbin, Connor O’Sullivan.

Day 1 Round-Up: Opening Win Proves Elusive For Ireland Men At Vancouver Sevens

Saturday, February 24 –


Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Zac Ward 2, Hugo Lennox, Gavin Mullin; Con: Billy Dardis
South Africa: Tries: David Brits, Rosko Specman
HT: Ireland 10 South Africa 5

Team: Zac Ward, Connor O’Sullivan, Harry McNulty (capt), Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Gavin Mullin, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Terry Kennedy, Niall Comerford, Billy Dardis, Matthew McDonald, Chay Mullins.


FRANCE v IRELAND, BC Place, 7.28pm local time/3.28pm Irish time

Sunday, February 25 –