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6 Nations

Kennedy Claims World Sevens Series Awards Double

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The Men’s Series came to an exciting conclusion in Los Angeles, with Australia clinching the title for the first time and Ireland making history with their best ever overall finish of fifth place.

Kennedy played a crucial role in Ireland’s stellar nine-tournament campaign, becoming only the eighth player in World Series history to score 50 or more tries in a single season.

The Dubliner’s awards double adds to Ireland’s already impressive list of World Sevens Series accolades this year, as Women’s star Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe won three awards – including the leading try scorer and Dream Team honours – back in May.

Kennedy’s team-mate Jordan Conroy was a previous winner of the same two awards in 2020, at the end of a Covid-19-impacted first year on the World Series for the Ireland Men as a core team.

The awards, presented on Sunday at a ceremony held at the Torrance Marriot Redondo Beach Hotel, recognise and celebrate the players and teams who have performed at the highest level across this season’s series and produced the most memorable moments that thrilled and inspired fans around the globe.

Aside from the Men’s Try of the Series, which was voted for by fans on social media from a list of three nominees, winners have been selected by the World Rugby Sevens Series Awards panel, comprising former international Sevens players and series commentators, across the eight categories.

HSBC WORLD RUGBY MEN’S SEVENS SERIES – 2021/22 AWARD WINNERS:

Rookie of the Year: Corey Toole (Australia)

Nominees: Henry Paterson (Australia) and Dietrich Roache (Australia)

This award goes to a player who has made their HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series debut in the current season and delivered an outstanding performance.

All three nominees came from Australia with the winner Corey Toole the only one of the trio not to have previously featured at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Toole made his series debut for Australia sevens at the first round of the 2022 Series in Dubai, alongside his fellow nominees Henry Paterson and Dietrich Roache.

Toole finished the series as the second leading try scorer with 43 tries, breaking the record for an Australian player and also the most by a rookie player in 2022.

Gilbert Top Try Scorer: Terry Kennedy (Ireland)

After scoring an incredible 50 tries in 52 games across this season’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Ireland’s Terry Kennedy won the Gilbert Top Try Scorer award, matching the achievement of compatriot Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe who topped the Women’s Series scoring charts this year.

Try of the Series: Jamie Farndale (Scotland), v New Zealand in Toulouse

Nominees: Henry Paterson (Australia) v New Zealand in London, Felipe del Mestre (Argentina) v Fiji in Vancouver

Jamie Farndale’s try against New Zealand in Toulouse was voted by fans worldwide as the Try of the Series. The other nominees were Henry Paterson for his overtime try against New Zealand in London that gave Australia their first tournament win since Sydney 2018, and Argentina’s Felipe del Mestre against Fiji in Vancouver on the way to winning their first leg since San Diego 2009.

Don’t Crack Under Pressure Award: Henry Paterson (Australia)

This award is given to the player or team that has shown the ability to perform under the unique and intense pressure of top level Sevens. This award was voted for by the panel and went to Henry Paterson for his match-winning try in overtime against New Zealand in the London Cup final.

The other nominees were Argentina for their incredible Cup final win over Fiji in Vancouver, and France for their extra-time victory against Samoa on home soil in Toulouse.

DHL Impact Player: Corey Toole (Australia) 

This award is for the player who demonstrated the most consistency and delivered the greatest impact against four key criteria – carries, offloads, line-breaks and tackles.

This year’s winner was Corey Toole of Australia, who made 161 runs, 75 tackles and 45 breaks throughout the season.

Capgemini Leadership Award: Argentina

This award celebrates the team that has upped their performance and climbed the rankings throughout the season. Results have been tracked throughout all the rounds, and Argentina have ranked first in this year’s series, which included only their third ever title, and first since 2009, as they overcame Fiji in an epic decider in Vancouver.

HSBC Dream Team: Corey Toole (Australia), Terry Kennedy (Ireland), Marcos Moneta (Argentina), Nick Malouf (Australia), Waisea Nacuqu (Fiji), Luciano Gonzalez (Argentina), Zain Davids (South Africa)

Corey Toole – Toole made his series debut for Australia sevens in the first round in Dubai, and finished the Series as the second leading try scorer with 43 tries, the most by a rookie player.

Terry Kennedy – Led the series in the number of tries, assists and carries, and was second in line-breaks behind Corey Toole.

Marcos Moneta – The 2021 World Sevens Player of the Year scored 10 tries to help Argentina to victory in Vancouver where he was awarded the HSBC Player of the Final. He scored 38 tries in total during the series, despite missing the final round in LA.

Nick Malouf – The Australia captain led his team to a long-awaited Men’s Series title and contributed eight tries, 11 clean breaks, 82 tackles and 74 carries throughout the campaign.

Waisea Nacuqu – In his eighth season on series, Fiji’s talisman was awarded the HSBC Player of the Final in Toulouse. During the series he scored 230 points, 24 tries, 19 clean breaks, 85 carries and 62 tackles.

Luciano Gonzalez – A key member of Argentina’s impressive campaign which involved a first Cup final win since 2009. He recorded 30 tries, 32 clean breaks, 39 tackles and 173 carries – the second highest in the series.

Zain Davids – Helped South Africa to claim consecutive victories in the first four rounds of the series and ended with 13 tries, 68 carries, 18 line breaks, 3 offloads, 1 try assist and 91 tackles.

Fair Play Award: Japan

The Fair Play Award is selected by the match officials and recognises the team that showcased rugby’s values of integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect. This year’s recipient was Japan.

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin was in attendance at the awards and said: “On behalf of World Rugby, I would like to congratulate all of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series award winners.

“There was some truly sensational Sevens played across the series and audiences were entertained by the speed, skill and all-action drama of Sevens, capturing the attention of new players and fans worldwide and inspiring young boys and girls around the globe to get involved in rugby.

“It was a fantastic marker of the highly competitive nature of international Sevens to see four teams still in with a chance of winning the series title heading into the crucial final round in Los Angeles.

“With the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town kicking off on September 9-11, and the Olympic Games in Paris less than two years away, the future of Sevens is very bright.”

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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