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Ireland Men Building For Big Second Day At World Cup Sevens Qualifier



James Topping’s charges, who ran out 73-0 winners over Poland and beat Portugal 29-0, are in pole position in Pool A ahead of tomorrow’s clash with unbeaten Italy (kick-off 2.20pm local time/12.20pm Irish time).

Jordan Conroy bagged a hat-trick in Ireland’s pool opener, while the returning Terry Kennedy has also scored three tries during the first two rounds. Bryan Mollen, Zac Ward and Harry McNulty are all on two each.

Captain Billy Dardis and his team-mates are two matches away from qualifying for the Sevens World Cup in Cape Town in September. Tougher contests lay ahead tomorrow, with Spain, Germany, Belgium, Wales and Italy also gaining back-to-back victories.

After just a minute’s play against Poland and a well-won Chay Mullins lineout, Aaron O’Sullivan sucked in a couple of defenders to send Conroy over in the left corner. Dardis converted in brilliant fashion.

Turnover ball allowed Sean Cribbin to streak clear for a second try, converted by Dardis, who then took a quick tap and fed O’Sullivan for a simple finish out wide.

Trailing 19-0, Poland fell further behind when Matt McDonald’s hard work in regaining the restart eventually led to a neat interchange between Cribbin and Mollen with the latter going in under the posts.

Dardis converted and also added the extras to a sharply-taken late score from Conroy, who sidestepped around Szymon Sirocki to score out wide from inside the Polish 22.

Ireland kept the pressure on and extended their 33-0 half-time lead, Cribbin putting Conroy over to complete his hat-trick and then the fresh legs of Ward surged through a gap to score from the right wing.

Ward soon turned provider, benefiting from a turnover penalty won by Mullins as he sent fellow replacement McNulty charging clear to score in the right corner. Mark Roche also nailed the conversion for a 54-0 scoreline.

Ward’s quickly-taken lineout, combined with a well-timed pass from Hugo Lennox, fired Kennedy downfield for his first try of the weekend. It was swiftly followed by his second, the assist coming from McDonald.

Mullins had a 40-metre run-in for Ireland’s eleventh and final try, set free for the right corner by Lennox who also clipped over the conversion for good measure.

Portugal provided a sterner test in the evening session, but Ireland took a second-minute lead when a counter ruck forced the ball loose on the ground and Mollen was able to pick it up and score from close range.

Some silky interplay saw Lennox scamper in from 35 metres out, after taking a return pass from Kennedy, and Portugal’s defence soon opened up again as Ireland moved into a 15-0 lead for half-time.

Kennedy drew in some defenders with his movement and Ward spotted his opportunity, using some quick footwork and a fend to score from Ireland’s 10-metre line.

The Portuguese were penalised at a scrum early on the resumption, Dardis put Kennedy over from a quick tap. The skipper slotted the conversion himself to widen the margin to 22 points.

With two-and-a-half minutes remaining, Lennox and O’Sullivan got the ball wide for McNulty to thunder over in the right corner. Dardis maintained his impressive kicking form with a pinpoint strike.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens European Qualifier, Arc de Triumf Stadium, Bucharest, July 16-17, 2022):

Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)
Matt McDonald (IQ Rugby)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC) (capt)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Chay Mullins (IQ Rugby)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Aaron O’Sullivan (Ireland Sevens)


Saturday, July 16 –


IRELAND 73 POLAND 0, Arc de Triumf Stadium – Watch Replay
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy 3, Sean Cribbin, Aaron O’Sullivan, Bryan Mollen, Zac Ward, Harry McNulty, Terry Kennedy 2, Chay Mullins; Cons: Billy Dardis 5, Mark Roche 2, Hugo Lennox 2
Poland: –
HT: Ireland 33 Poland 0

Team: Bryan Mollen, Matt McDonald, Chay Mullins, Sean Cribbin, Billy Dardis (capt), Aaron O’Sullivan, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Harry McNulty, Mark Roche, Zac Ward, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy.

IRELAND 29 PORTUGAL 0, Arc de Triumf Stadium – Watch Replay
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Bryan Mollen, Hugo Lennox, Zac Ward, Terry Kennedy, Harry McNulty; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
Portugal: –
HT: Ireland 15 Portugal 0

Team: Harry McNulty, Zac Ward, Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Ed Kelly.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Aaron O’Sullivan, Jordan Conroy, Chay Mullins, Sean Cribbin.

Rugby World Cup Sevens European Qualifier – Fixtures/Results/Tables

Sunday, July 17 –


IRELAND v ITALY, Arc de Triumf Stadium, 2.20pm local time/12.20pm Irish time


Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


Sharks sign respected Full-back on 1 year deal



Former Gloucester full-back Jason Woodward joins Sale Sharks ahead of 2022/23 Premiership season 

Sale Sharks have signed versatile full-back Jason Woodward on a one-year deal ahead of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season. 

The former Bristol Bears and Gloucester man, who can also play on the wing and in the centre, put pen to paper today and will join Alex Sanderson’s squad ahead of their opening pre-season clash against Caldy RFC on August 19. 

Jason signed for Bristol from Super Rugby side the Hurricanes in 2016, before joining Gloucester the following year after Bristol’s relegation from the Premiership. He went on to make made 67 appearances and score 90 points for the Cherry and Whites. 

The 32-year-old represented New Zealand at U20 level but qualifies for England through his grandmother and was called into a training camp by Eddie Jones in 2017. 

Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson said: “After speaking with Jason it was clear he was still motivated to perform at the highest level, and he was keen for a move North to join the Sharks. 

“Jason is a proven Premiership performer who will add a great deal of quality and experience to what is a young squad here.  

“He has the ability to play in a number of positions and that’s a massive bonus for us with such a busy schedule ahead. 

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RFU Council votes in favour of change to gender participation policy



Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images
Press release issued by Rugby Football Union
  • The RFU Council has approved a new gender participation policy following extensive stakeholder consultation and thorough review of all available scientific evidence
  • New policy takes a precautionary approach by prioritising safety of players
  • RFU promoting opportunities for everyone to participate in rugby offering a range of formats and ways to get involved along with a confidential helpline 
  • RFU committed to working with World Rugby and UK Sports Councils to ensure further research is conducted and to reviewing the policy on a regular basis

Following an extensive RFU consultation, the RFU Council has voted in favour of updating its gender participation policy for rugby in England from the start of the 2022/23 season with 33 in favour, 26 against and 2 abstaining.

The RFU began a detailed review of its policy in Autumn 2020, this included a game wide survey receiving over 11,000 responses, extensive consultation with and listening to a wide range of independent experts as well as considering all available scientific evidence along with liaising with other sporting bodies.

The review and consultation concluded that detailed peer reviewed research provides evidence that there are physical differences between those people whose sex originally recorded as male and those as female at birth, and advantages in strength, stamina and physique brought about by testosterone and male puberty are significant and retained even after testosterone suppression. 
This science provides the basis of the new gender participation policy that concludes the inclusion of trans people originally recorded male at birth in female contact rugby cannot be balanced against considerations of safety and fairness.

The RFU Council has determined that until such time as new further peer-reviewed science is available, a precautionary approach is appropriate to ensure fair competition and safety of all competitors. Therefore, the RFU Council approved a policy change to only permit players in the female category if the sex originally recorded at birth is female. 

The RFU recognises this was a complex and difficult decision and the policy change was not taken lightly or without thorough and full research and consultation.  Speaking about the decision, RFU President, His Honour Jeff Blackett said: “I would like to thank everyone for the passion, time and effort that has been put in to consulting with us and informing this policy review.  Inclusion is at the heart of rugby values and we will continue to work with everyone to keep listening, learning and finding ways to demonstrate there is a place for everyone in our game.  We know that many will be disappointed by this decision however, it has been based on all the scientific evidence available.  Our game can be strengthened by everyone who is involved; be it in coaching, refereeing, administration or supporting and playing non-contact forms of the game.”

The RFU also considered the merits of a case-by-case assessment process, but in light of the research findings and work of World Rugby and the UK Sports Councils, and given the difficulties in identifying a credible test to assess physiological variables, this is no longer a viable option at this time and does not necessarily ensure inclusion.   World Rugby has a dedicated funding stream for research in this area and the RFU will continue to work with World Rugby and other stakeholders in promoting research to continue.

In the male category, players whose sex recorded at birth is female may play if they provide their written consent and a risk assessment is carried out.

The RFU is committed to supporting and encouraging opportunities for everyone to participate in rugby including non-contact formats of the game and through coaching, refereeing or volunteering roles.  If anyone would like to find out more about how rugby can be inclusive to them and would like to get involved they can contact the RFU via [email protected] . For anyone who wants advice on mental-wellbeing please see this link. 
The RFU has contacted the registered trans women players, who the revised policy has a direct impact on, to offer its support in continuing to encourage them to participate in the sport. The RFU will continue to listen and review its policy on a regular basis and welcomes all new research on this subject to inform these reviews.

For further information on the review please click here:
RFU Gender Participation Policy – frequently asked questions
RFU Gender Participation video

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Joe Simpson joins the Sharks Family!



Sale Sharks have signed former England scrum-half Joe Simpson on a short-term contract ahead of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season.

The former Wasps and Gloucester man, who has one England cap and was part of his country’s squad for the 2011 World Cup, has put pen to paper on a six-month deal.

Joe made almost 250 appearances for Wasps after graduating from their academy in 2008, before joining Gloucester in 2019.

He had loan spells at both Saracens and Bath Rugby last season, but after being released from his contract at Kingsholm, he has joined up with Alex Sanderson’s squad for pre-season ahead of a busy Gallagher Premiership and Heineken Champions Cup campaign.

And the Sharks Director of Rugby says that with Raffi Quirke and Will Cliff currently sidelined with injuries, the 34-year-old will be a massive addition to the club on and off the field

Alex said: “We felt that we were short of a bit of experience in the scrum-half position and Joe brings that in abundance. He’s a proven performer who’s played at the very highest level for the past decade and more and we’re sure he will be a brilliant addition to what is a very young squad.

“Everyone who has worked with Joe speaks really highly of him in terms of his leadership off the field so we’re really excited to see what he can do here. Joe’s experience will be invaluable for our young players like Raffi, Gus Warr and Nye Thomas.”

Joe Simpson has been one of the Premiership’s most consistent performers over the past decade.

At international level, he represented England at U19 and U20 level, taking part in the inaugural Junior World Championship in Wales in 2008, as well as playing for the Sevens and Saxons teams.

Joe made his full debut for England during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand when he replaced Ben Youngs during a pool stage clash with Georgia.

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