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6 Nations

Ireland Men To Battle For Bronze After Narrow New Zealand Defeat

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Last night’s exertions in dumping hosts South Africa out of the tournament looked to be having an impact when Ireland (sponsored by TritonLake) were left trailing 10-0 after just two minutes.

McGarvey-Black reeled off a blistering brace of tries, but Jack Kelly capitalised on Moses Leo’s yellow card to halve the deficit for half-time.

James Topping’s side maintained the momentum on the restart, Harry McNulty competing hard in the air and the breaking ball was run in by Andrew Smith for a levelling eighth-minute try.

Captain Billy Dardis missed the difficult conversion from the left, and despite some terrific work from the likes of Kelly and the tireless Terry Kennedy, Ireland were unable to snatch the decisive score.

Instead, the in-form McGarvey-Black came up trumps for the All Blacks Sevens in the 13th minute when converting pressure into points. The extras were added by replacement Kurt Baker.

The ball squirted out of a late Irish ruck, allowing New Zealand to turn defence into attack as they became the first team to qualify for three successive Sevens World Cup finals – they were champions in both 2013 and 2018.

Ireland will have their last runout at Cape Town Stadium at 7.25pm local time/6.25pm Irish time. Their Bronze final opponents are Australia, whom they beat to win the Challenge Trophy in San Francisco four years ago.

Speaking in the aftermath of such a gut-wrenching result, Jordan Conroy admitted: “It was a big semi-final, we knew we had a tough opponent. All we wanted to do was to play our game and bring it up a level from last night’s match.

“Unfortunately, the result didn’t go our way. It was a close match but that’s how the game goes sometimes, it is just small margins.

“The energy last night was just out of this world and just trying to replicate that was a little bit tough, playing so late and then getting up early. But that’s not really an excuse, that’s why teams are in the final.

“They just get on with it and bring it up a step further. I feel like we, as a team, are nearly there so, yeah, it’s just up from here.”

Ireland fell behind after just 29 seconds, Kennedy failing to gather the kick-off and New Zealand used the quick lineout to go to the far wing before Tone Ng Shiu’s impressive offload put McGarvey-Black over in the left corner.

The scoreboard showed 10-0 shortly afterwards, with referee Reuben Keane happy with the legality of New Zealand’s counter ruck and follow-up on Sean Cribbin that created a pathway to the try-line for McGarvey-Black.

A Kennedy turnover penalty lifted the men in green, and then another steal from the St. Mary’s College speedster – followed by nice work on the counter attack from Cribbin, McNulty and Kelly – finally got them on the front foot.

Leo took Kennedy out off the ball, earning a late first-half yellow, and Ireland’s patient build-up play was duly rewarded. McNulty put Kelly over in the right corner, but agonisingly, Mark Roche’s well-struck conversion was denied by the woodwork.

Luck was suddenly on Ireland’s side when the second half got underway. McNulty made a nuisance of himself and the ball bounced up invitingly for Smith to embark on a 35-metre run to the whitewash.

After Dardis pulled his conversion narrowly wide on the near side, the Ireland skipper went long from the restart and a favourable bounce may have seen the inrushing Kennedy score wide on the left.

Bryan Mollen denied Leo with a terrific try-saving tackle as New Zealand came hunting for their third score, which crucially came just a few moments later. Match winner McGarvey-Black slipped through past two tired tackles.

That energy-draining late night quarter-final, coupled with the injury-enforced absence of Hugo Lennox, caught up with Ireland in the end, but it was a valiant effort against one of the world’s most consistent Sevens outfits.

Conroy added: “Looking back to our first World Cup in San Francisco, as the newbies coming ninth, and being able to play for a medal four years later is absolutely amazing.

“It just shows the growth we have been through in the last four years. It would be another one for the history books for us (to win bronze), and hopefully, we can bring it home.”

All of Ireland’s games are live on the RTÉ Player in the Republic of Ireland, while there will be coverage across Irish Rugby social media channels and on IrishRugby.ie. A full list of broadcasters is available here.

The Ireland Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams are wearing their brand new Canterbury kit for the World Cup in Cape Town. Click here to buy the new jerseys online from Intersport Elverys.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, September 9-11, 2022):

Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC) (capt)
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)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)

IRELAND MEN’S RWC Sevens Schedule –

Friday, September 9:

Pre-Round Of 16 –

IRELAND 24 PORTUGAL 0, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Bryan Mollen; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis
Portugal: –
HT: Ireland 12 Portugal 0

Match Report: Kennedy: Happy To Get Through Without Conceding

Team: Harry McNulty, Matt McDonald, Jack Kelly Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Chay Mullins.

Subs used: Sean Cribbin, Andrew Smith, Bryan Mollen, Billy Dardis (capt), Jordan Conroy.

Rugby World Cup Sevens – Fixtures/Results

Round Of 16 –

ENGLAND 5 IRELAND 17, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: England: Try: Charlton Kerr
Ireland; Tries: Harry McNulty, Mark Roche, Jordan Conroy; Con: Mark Roche
HT: England 0 Ireland 7

Match Report: Ireland Men Overcome England To Reach Quarter-Final Stage

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

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Sean Cribbin, Chay Mullins, Matt McDonald, Bryan Mollen.

Saturday, September 10:

Championship Quarter-Final –

IRELAND 24 SOUTH AFRICA 14, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Harry McNulty, Jordan Conroy 2; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis
South Africa: Tries: Muller du Plessis, Mfundo Ndhlovu; Cons: Ronald Brown, Selvyn Davids
HT: Ireland 7 South Africa 7

Match Report: Conroy Double Drives Ireland Men To Famous Win Over Hosts

Team: Harry McNulty, Andrew Smith, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Bryan Mollen, Matt McDonald, Chay Mullins.

Sunday, September 11:

Championship Semi-Final –

IRELAND 10 NEW ZEALAND 17, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith
New Zealand: Tries: Ngarohi McGarvey-Black 3; Con: Kurt Baker
HT: Ireland 5 New Zealand 10

Team: Harry McNulty, Andrew Smith, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Bryan Mollen, Matt McDonald, Chay Mullins.

Championship Bronze Final –

IRELAND v AUSTRALIA, Cape Town Stadium, 7.25pm local time/6.25pm Irish time

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


6 Nations

Aki Banned For Eight Weeks

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Aki will be unavailable for the westerners’ next five URC games, including the derby clashes with Munster and Leinster, and will also miss at least the first two of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series fixtures.

He will definitely be absent for the Tests against South Africa and Fiji, but could return to face Australia on Saturday, November 19 if he ‘successfully completes the Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention programme’.

After an act of foul play against Stormers winger Seabelo Senatla, referee Gianluca Gnecchi showed Aki a red card in the 60th minute of the game under law 9.20(a).

The particular law states that a player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul.

In his responses to the judicial officer overseeing the disciplinary process (Pamela Woodman from Scotland), Aki had accepted that he had committed an act of foul play which warranted a red card.

She determined that his actions towards Senatla were reckless and took into account, among other things, the speed, force and high degree of danger in his actions.

Ms. Woodman determined that, had it been based on this conduct alone, the offending would have been categorised as mid-range on the scale of seriousness.

However, she also considered Aki’s actions and demeanour towards the referee in connection with the issue of the red card, which she found did not meet the expected standards of conduct or respect.

This was also taken into account (in accordance with URC’s disciplinary rules) in determining that his offending was at the top-end on the scale of seriousness, which warranted an entry point sanction of 10 weeks.

The judicial officer then considered if there were any mitigating factors and found that Aki’s acceptance that he had committed an act of foul play (during the off-field disciplinary process), expression of remorse, apologies to both the opposing player and referee, and willingness to engage with his provincial coaching staff on a plan to address this issue, were relevant mitigating factors.

These mitigating factors warranted a reduction in the sanction of four weeks.

Aki’s previous suspensions for red cards in 2019 and 2021 for foul play involving head contact, as well as his suspension and warning for previous conduct relating to interactions with referees, were considered aggravating factors, which the judicial officer decided warranted a further two weeks of sanction.

As a result, the Ireland international will be suspended for a period of eight weeks. As previously stated, should he complete the Coaching Intervention programme then the sanction will be reduced by one week.

Fixtures Bundee Aki is unavailable for:

Vodacom Bulls v Connacht, September 30, BKT URC
Connacht v Munster, October 7, BKT URC
Connacht v Leinster, October 14, BKT URC
Connacht v Scarlets, October 21, BKT URC
Ospreys v Connacht, October 29, BKT URC
Ireland v South Africa, November 5, Autumn Nations Series
Ireland v Fiji, November 12, Autumn Nations Series
Ireland v Australia, November 19, Autumn Nations Series (substituted if the player successfully completes the Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention programme)

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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6 Nations

Jones names squad for training camp

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England will begin preparations for their four home Autumn Nations Series fixtures in November during the camp. The squad will meet in Richmond on Sunday 2 October and train at Twickenham Stadium.

First call-ups for camp include Northampton Saints’ Alex Coles and Saracens’ Hugh Tizard, both players having previously appeared for England U20s.

Manu Tuilagi and Sam Simmonds are back in the squad following injury and there are returns for Ben Youngs, Alex Mitchell, Tom Pearson and David Ribbans.

England face Argentina in the first of their four matches at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday 6 November (2.15pm KO). They will then host Japan on Saturday 12 November (3.15pm KO), followed by New Zealand on Saturday 19 November (5.30pm KO). Their final match is against South Africa on Saturday 26 November (5.30pm KO).

“With a year to go to the Rugby World Cup, this is a big opportunity for players to come in and impress,” said Jones. “We want them to show real energy and enthusiasm and that they want to be a part of this massive year.

“It doesn’t mean that those who have been left out won’t be considered for the Autumn Nations Series matches. We’ll be looking at club games, form and fitness and the door is left open for those players.

“We finished the Australia tour well. It was a fantastic experience, particularly for the younger players. We now have to start again, but we’ll build on what we’ve done there and continue that momentum.”

Training Squad

FORWARDS

Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps)

Alex Coles (Northampton Saints, uncapped)

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 37 caps)

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 41 caps)

Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 39 caps)

Jamie George (Saracens, 69 caps)

Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps)

Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 15 caps)

Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 14 caps)

Tom Pearson (London Irish, uncapped)

David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, uncapped)

Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)

Patrick Schickerling (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)

Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps)

Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 23 caps)

Hugh Tizard (Saracens, uncapped)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 64 caps)

Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 70 caps)

Jack Walker (Harlequins, uncapped)

Jack Willis (Wasps, 4 caps)

BACKS

Henry Arundell (London Irish, 3 caps)

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)

Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, uncapped)

Owen Farrell (Saracens, 97 caps)

Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, 2 caps)

George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 6 caps)

Will Joseph (London Irish, 1 cap)

Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 69 caps)

Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 42 caps)

Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)

Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 13 caps)

Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 13 caps)

Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 46 caps)

Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 117 caps)

Unavailable for selection due to injury: Alfie Barbeary, Nic Dolly, Alex Dombrandt, Charlie Ewels, George Ford, Sam Jeffries, Maro Itoje, Nick Isiekwe, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Anthony Watson.


Images & Content from England Rugby
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6 Nations

New governance structure agreed for rugby in Scotland

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Scottish Rugby President Colin Rigby hailed a “significant milestone” for the game in Scotland when member clubs agreed a new governance structure at an online special general meeting last night.

The new structure, based on the recommendations on the Standing Committee on Governance (SCOG), sees the new Scottish Rugby Union (a company limited by guarantee) take on the responsibility for the oversight of the organisation’s main operating vehicle, Scottish Rugby.

It also will provide an oversight function to the organisation’s members.

Professor Lorne Crerar CBE, Interim Chair of the new Scottish Rugby Union, pledged to the SGM that “all the promises for a new, well-functioning governance system will absolutely be delivered.”

Professor Crerar also called on the membership to play its part in finding the “very best talent” to serve as “custodians” on the new company’s board.

Colin Rigby thanked members, SCOG, the Scottish Rugby Council and Scottish Rugby’s employees for their patience, while the new structure was arrived at.

He added: “This is a significant milestone in the history of the Scottish Rugby Union where all stakeholders now have clarity around governance, roles and responsibility.”

John Jeffrey remains chairman of the Scottish Rugby Board which will continue to oversee the day-to-day operational, commercial and executive functions of Scottish Rugby.

Earlier tonight, members voted unanimously to receive Scottish Rugby’s financial statements for 2021-22 at the second part of the organisation’s AGM.

During the period, overall revenue returned to within 5% of pre-pandemic levels at £57.9million, a rise of £5.5million from the previous year.

The accounts showed a deficit of £5.3 million on the base business, while the strategic investment from private equity partners CVC drove a gain on disposal of investment of £34.2million, bringing Scottish Rugby’s net surplus after tax to £29million for the year.

Images & Content – Scotland Rugby


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