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Ireland Men End World Series With Historic Fifth Place Finish

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Only a core team since 2019, Ireland (sponsored by TritonLake) were 10th in their Covid-19-curtailed debut year and came sixth in the two-legged 2021 series.

Now, on the back of their silver medal heroics in Toulouse and two other top four finishes, they have closed out their first fully-completed World Series in fifth place as the leading northern hemisphere nation.

The HSBC LA Sevens saw James Topping’s side reach their eighth Cup quarter-final of the campaign, but New Zealand got the better of them on a 29-14 scoreline. Returning to the pitch, Ireland then lost their grip on a 21-point lead against fast-finishing Argentina.

The 28-21 play-off defeat to the Pumas left the men in green with another top eight finish, their 10 rankings points taking their haul for the season to 92, ahead of the USA (87) and France (81), and behind fourth-place Argentina (118).

“Fifth for us is a massive thing because it’s only our first year on a whole World Series,” said coach Topping. “Our goal was always to retain our status as such, but the guys have had really, really good performances.

“There’s a lot of competition (within the squad). We had quite a settled team for a few years, maybe 12, 13 or 14 guys to pick from. This year I think we’ve got 22 guys who have played on the World Series.

“There’s guys who have come into the programme and after a month, they have been sent out there to show what they can do. So it’s a really good position to be in to have experienced guys there, we can bring in three, four guys and see how they go.

“And then that also puts pressure on the older guys, as such, to perform. We’ve got a nice blend at the minute. I’ve full confidence in all the players that go on the pitch, but it’s given us that sort of team that can play for a full 14 minutes.”

Captain Billy Dardis and that experienced core group keep a steady hand on the tiller, with the likes of Terry Kennedy continuing to reach new heights as his 50-try tally saw him crowned the World Series top try scorer for 2021/22.

Eight players have made their World Series debuts for Ireland in the last nine months, acquitting themselves very well. Youngsters Andrew Smith and Chay Mullins have already played 61 matches between them, scoring 13 tries.

An experienced New Zealand outfit put together a formidable first half display, breaking into a 24-0 half-time lead thanks to a run of tries from Joe Webber, Caleb Tangitau, Amanaki Nicole and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black.

They got the bounce of the ball from the kick-off, allowing Webber to quickly get them on the board despite picking up a hamstring injury in the process. Akuila Rokolisoa converted for a 7-0 lead.

A flat pass put Tangitau over in the left corner as Ireland struggled for both possession and territory, and New Zealand pushed 17 points clear when, following a lineout, they went back to the short side for Nicole to score.

Some refereeing decisions were going against Topping’s charges, Mark Roche left frustrated by an incorrect call for a knock-on, and the All Blacks outfit used the scrum possession to send McGarvey-Black in under the posts.

Ireland were much-improved when the second half got underway, Jordan Conroy increasing his threat and Roche cut in past two players to link with Kennedy who darted through a gap to pull seven points back.

However, the game was scoreless during Regan Ware’s sin-bin period, with Harry McNulty tackled short of the line and Ireland were unable to get back into contention.

Nicole shrugged off a tackle at the other end to send Lewis Ormond over in the left corner, while there was some late consolation when Kennedy and McNulty combined, the latter’s accurate long pass allowing Ed Kelly to raid over from out wide.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC LA Sevens, Dignity Health Sports Park, August 27-28, 2022):

Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC) (capt)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Matt McDonald (IQ Rugby)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College RFC)
Chay Mullins (IQ Rugby)
Aaron O’Sullivan (Blackrock College RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)

HSBC WORLD RUGBY SEVENS SERIES – LA SEVENS RESULTS:

Saturday, August 27 –

POOL C:

IRELAND 14 FRANCE 12, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy, Chay Mullins; Cons: Hugo Lennox, Billy Dardis
France: Tries: Pierre Mignot, Varian Pasquet; Con: Thibaud Mazzoleni
HT: Ireland 7 France 5

Team: Harry McNulty, Bryan Mollen, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Aaron O’Sullivan.

Subs used: Andrew Smith, Chay Mullins, Billy Dardis (capt), Niall Comerford, Ed Kelly.

IRELAND 46 WALES 12, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy, Andrew Smith 2, Mark Roche, Niall Comerford, Aaron O’Sullivan 2, Chay Mullins; Cons: Billy Dardis, Mark Roche 2
Wales: Tries: Luke Treharne, Lloyd Lewis; Con: Luke Treharne
HT: Ireland 17 Wales 12

Team: Harry McNulty, Andrew Smith, Chay Mullins, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Ed Kelly.

Subs used: Jack Kelly, Aaron O’Sullivan, Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche, Niall Comerford.

FIJI 21 IRELAND 7, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: Fiji: Tries: Waisea Nacuqu, Kaminieli Rasaku, Iowane Teba; Cons: Waisea Nacuqu 2, Kaminieli Rasaku
Ireland: Try: Harry McNulty; Con: Billy Dardis
HT: Fiji 14 Ireland 0

Team: Harry McNulty, Bryan Mollen, Andrew Smith, Mark Roche, Niall Comerford, Aaron O’Sullivan, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Ed Kelly, Chay Mullins, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – LA Sevens Results

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – LA Sevens Pool Tables

Day 1 Round-Up: Ireland Men Tee Up La Quarter-Final Clash With New Zealand

Sunday, August 28 –

CUP QUARTER-FINAL:

NEW ZEALAND 29 IRELAND 14, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: New Zealand: Tries: Joe Webber, Caleb Tangitau, Amanaki Nicole, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Lewis Ormond; Cons: Akuila Rokolisoa 2
Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy, Ed Kelly; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis
HT: New Zealand 24 Ireland 0

Team: Harry McNulty, Andrew Smith, Chay Mullins, Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Aaron O’Sullivan, Ed Kelly, Bryan Mollen, Jack Kelly.

5TH PLACE SEMI-FINAL:

ARGENTINA 28 IRELAND 21, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: Argentina: Tries: Rodrigo Isgro 2, Alejo Lavayen, Tomas Lizazu; Cons: Alejo Lavajen 4
Ireland: Tries: Jack Kelly, Ed Kelly, Bryan Mollen; Cons: Billy Dardis 3
HT: Argentina 7 Ireland 21

Team: Bryan Mollen, Jack Kelly, Chay Mullins, Billy Dardis (capt), Niall Comerford, Terry Kennedy, Ed Kelly.

Subs used: Andrew Smith, Harry McNulty, Hugo Lennox, Jordan Conroy, Mark Roche.

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


6 Nations

RTÉ And Virgin Media Confirm Details Of Free-To-Air Six Nations Coverage

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RTÉ and Virgin Media Television today announced details of its joint Guinness Six Nations coverage, where the action will be free-to-air for supporters in the Republic of Ireland.

Kicking off on Friday, 3 February, this year’s Six Nations coverage will include all fixtures from Ireland’s Men’s, Women’s and U20 tournaments.

The partnership will see all games equally aired across both broadcasters again this year.

The 2023 Men’s Six Nations will open with Ireland v Wales on Virgin Media One, followed by England v Scotland on RTÉ2. Ireland will then take on current champions France on Saturday, 11 February.

The TikTok Women’s Six Nations will begin on Sunday, 26 March with Wales v Ireland.

Speaking at this morning’s launch at the Aviva Stadium, presenters Jacqui Hurley and Joe Molloy were joined on stage by members of their broadcast teams this year including pundits Rob Kearney, Fiona Hayes (Virgin Media Television), and RTÉ’s Jamie Heaslip and Hannah Tyrrell.

RTÉ also confirmed that Irish international and Munster player Simon Zebo will be joining their punditry team.

Commenting, Head of RTÉ Sport, Declan McBennett said: “With this being a great year for rugby, there is added excitement about this year’s Six Nations which RTÉ is once again bringing to sports fans all over the country free-to-air along with Virgin Media Ireland as part of our historic partnership which we launched last year.

“It’s going to be a huge year for Irish rugby and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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Ireland Squad Named For 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championship

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The Ireland Coaching Team have named a 37-man squad for the upcoming Guinness Six Nations Championship, which kicks off with an away trip to Cardiff to face Wales on Saturday, 4th February.

In Round 2, Ireland host France at Aviva Stadium looking to secure their first victory over Fabien Galthie’s side since 2019.  There was just six points between the two sides last year in Paris and France emerged the victors when they last faced off in Dublin the previous year, winning 15-13.

In Round 3, Ireland travel to Rome to face a resurgent Italy who have recorded wins over Australia and Wales in the past year.

Round 4 sees Andy Farrell’s side travel to BT Murrayfield to face Gregor Townsend’s Scotland and six days later, in the final game of the Championship, Ireland play host to England at Aviva Stadium.

Both of Ireland’s home games against France and England are sold out and all of Ireland’s fixtures will be broadcast live on free-to-air television and radio across RTE, VIRGIN, BBC, ITV, RTE Radio and BBC NI Radio.

Ireland finished second to France in last year’s Championship with four wins and five bonus points for a total of 21 points, claiming the Triple Crown for the first time since 2018.

There is one uncapped player named in the squad, Leinster’s Jamie Osborne. Osborne was first integrated into the Senior squad in November 2021 as a Development Player and has since featured for Emerging Ireland and Ireland A.

Ireland Head Coach Andy Farrell commented: “The Six Nations is a huge competition for us and another opportunity for us to grow as group. 2022 was a busy year as we got to work with a larger group of players as we continued to build our squad depth and competition for places.

While there are a few players carrying knocks and others that have missed out on selection for the start of the tournament, they will have the opportunity to push their case playing for their provinces in the URC over the coming weeks as no doubt we will need to call upon the wider group as the tournament progresses.”

Ireland Squad, 2023 Guinness Six Nations:

Backs (17):

Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 41 caps
Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 14 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 7 caps
Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution) 2 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 98 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 23 caps
Mack Hansen (Connacht) 8 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 25 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Marys College) 30 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 15 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 9 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 100 caps
Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 3 caps
Jamie Osborne (Leinster/Naas) *
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 47 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College)(captain) 109 caps
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 35 caps

Forwards (20):

Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 8 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 27 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 36 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 33 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 23 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 63 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 121 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 68 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 31 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 18 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 48 caps
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University) 1 cap
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 89 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 4 caps
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Cian Prendergast (Connacht/Corinthians) 1 cap
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 45 cap

*denotes uncapped player

2023 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures:

Wales v IRELAND
Saturday 4th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
VIRGIN / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

IRELAND v France
Saturday 11th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Italy v IRELAND
Saturday 25th February 2023, KO 14:15 (IST)
RTE TV / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Scotland v IRELAND
Sunday 12th March 2023, KO 15:00 (IST)
RTE TV / BBC / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

IRELAND v England
Saturday 18th March 2023, KO 17:00 (IST)
VIRGIN / ITV / RTE Radio / BBC Radio

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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Murphy Names Ireland U20 Squad For Six Nations

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Head Coach Richie Murphy has today named a 32-man Ireland squad, sponsored by PwC, for the upcoming 2023 U20 Six Nations, including seven players who were involved in last year’s Championship and U20 Summer Series.

Leinster hooker Gus McCarthy has been appointed captain ahead of Ireland’s opening fixture against Wales in Colwyn Bay on Friday, 3 February (Kick-off 7pm, live on Virgin Media).

Leinster duo Diarmuid Mangan and Conor O’Tighearnaigh, as well as Ulster back row James McNabney, were part of last season’s Grand Slam-winning squad, while a further four players – Sam Prendergast, Charlie Irvine, Harry West and George Hadden – are named in the 2023 Championship squad having featured during the U20 Summer Series in Italy last June.

The Ireland squad have been building towards the Six Nations through a series of camps at the IRFU High Performance Centre, while Challenge Matches against Italy, Munster Development and Leinster Development over the Christmas period have aided preparations.

Ireland kick off the Six Nations away in Wales, before hosting France in Round 2 at Musgrave Park on Friday, 10 February (Kick-off 8pm, live on RTÉ 2).

Murphy’s side will then go head-to-head with Italy on Friday, 24 February in Treviso (Kick-off 7.15pm, RTÉ 2), before concluding the Championship away to Scotland on Friday, 10 March (Kick-off 7.15pm, RTÉ 2) and at home to England in Cork on Sunday, 19 March (Kick-off 5pm, Virgin Media).

Speaking at today’s squad announcement and media day at PwC HQ in Dublin, Murphy also confirmed his coaching staff for the 2023 Championship, with Willie Faloon (Defence and Lineout) and Mark Sexton (Backs and Attack) continuing in their roles and Aaron Dundon joining the team as Scrum and Contact Coach.

“We have been working hard for a number of weeks and it’s an exciting time for these young players, who have the honour of representing the wider group in the Six Nations,” Murphy said.

“We as coaches have pushed the players over the last number of months and I have been impressed by their work-rate, commitment and application. Now our focus turns to performance and the opening game against Wales, which we know will be a big challenge first up.

“We are looking forward to the opportunities over the coming weeks and are excited by the prospect of an Ireland U20s team returning to Six Nations action at Musgrave Park in Cork, where we always have huge support.”

Feargal O’Rourke, PwC Ireland Managing Partner, commented: “At PwC, we are excited for the start of the 2023 Six Nations Championship as we enter our eighteenth year as sponsors of the Ireland U20 squad. As defending Grand Slam Champions we have no doubt that the team will rise to the occasion for the 2023 campaign. The dedication and team-work that the U20s show is always exceptional and mirrors our own values at PwC.

“Wishing the team the very best of luck in the upcoming Championship. #FutureIsGreen.”

IRFU President, John Robinson, added: “The onset of a Championship is always a hugely exciting time and the U20s programme is a very important part of Irish Rugby, with previous squads enjoying tremendous success over the years.

“The players have all worked incredibly hard, supported by coaches, parents, schools and clubs to attain this level and they are now about to represent their country in this very prestigious and world class tournament. I wish them every success in the forthcoming games and know that they will show Irish Rugby at its best.

“To PwC, I thank you again for your ongoing support as sponsors of the Ireland U20s. I know that this will be your eighteenth year of this sponsorship which is greatly appreciated and has been a major factor in the development of these squads to be able to compete and be successful at this very high level of competition.”

Tickets for Ireland’s home matches at Musgrave Park are available to purchase now via Ticketmaster.ie.

Ireland U20s Squad:

Forwards (17):

George Morris (Lansdowne/Leinster)
George Hadden (Clontarf/Leinster)
Gus McCarthy (UCD/Leinster)(captain)
Conall Henchy (DUFC/Munster)
Danny Sheahan (UCC/Munster)
Ronan Foxe (Leinster/Old Belvedere)
Fiachna Barrett (Corinthians/Connacht)
Paddy McCarthy (DUFC/Leinster)
Conor O’Tighearnaigh (DUFC/Leinster)
Charlie Irvine (Queen’s University/Ulster)
Evan O’Connell (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Joe Hopes (Queen’s University/Ulster)
Jacob Sheahan (UCC/Munster)
Diarmuid Mangan (UCD/Leinster)
Ruadhán Quinn (Old Crescent/Munster)
James McNabney (Ballymena/Ulster)
Brian Gleeson (Garryowen/Munster)

Backs (15):

Jack Oliver (Garryowen/Munster)
Oscar Cawley (Naas/Leinster)
Fintan Gunne (Terenure/Leinster)
Sam Prendergast (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Matthew Lynch (DUFC/Leinster)
Harry West (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Sam Berman (DUFC/Leinster)
Hugh Gavin (Galwegians/Connacht)
Hugh Cooney (Clontarf/Leinster)
John Devine (Corinthians/Connacht)
Ike Anagu (La Rochelle/IQ Rugby)
James Nicholson (UCD/Leinster)
Rory Telfer (Queen’s University/Ulster)
Henry McErlean (Terenure/Leinster)
Noah Sheridan (Clontarf/Leinster)

Ireland U20 Fixtures:

  • Friday, 3 February: Wales v Ireland, Colwyn Bay, 7pm (Virgin Media)
  • Friday, 10 February: Ireland v France, Musgrave Park, 8pm (RTÉ)
  • Friday, 24 February: Italy v Ireland, Stadio Comunale di Monigo, 7.15pm (RTÉ)
  • Friday, 10 March: Scotland v Ireland, Scotstoun Stadium, 7.15pm (RTÉ)
  • Sunday, 19 March: Ireland v England, Musgrave Park, 5pm (Virgin Media).

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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