The Ireland Men’s Sevens management have named a 13-man squad to travel to Moscow for the opening round of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series this weekend.
Ireland were the winners of the event in Moscow last season, and finished second on the overall Grand Prix Series.
The matches will be available to view on the Rugby Europe live stream www.rugbyeurope.tv
The Grand Prix Series will again serve as the entry route to next year’s World Series Qualifier.
Ireland are drawn in Pool B for Moscow, along with Germany, Portugal and Poland.
Their second-place finish gained them a spot at the World Series Qualifier in Hong Kong, which was held in April this year. Ireland narrowly lost out to eventual tournament winners Japan in the Semi-Final.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) May 17, 2018
Shannon’s Greg O’Shea returns to the fold following injury, following success in the Ulster Bank League, as he was part of the parish side that were successful in winning Division 1B and gaining promotion back to Division 1A.
Billy Dardis will captain the squad in Russia and he is joined by UCD team-mates Hugo Keenan and Harry McNulty in the travelling party.
Fresh from success with his club Lansdowne in the Ulster Bank League Final, Ian Fitzpatrick is named in the side.
Cork Con’s Shane Daly, who lined out against Lansdowne in the Aviva Stadium two weeks ago is also included.
Robert Balacoune, Jordan Conroy and Terry Kennedy are all set to travel, as is Suttonians scrum-half Sean Cribbin.
John O’Donnell, Bryan Mollen and Mark Roche (pictured below) complete the squad.
Speaking ahead of the squad’s departure for Russia, the IRFU’s Director of Rugby Sevens, Anthony Eddy, said: “With a busy schedule over the next few months including the Sevens Rugby World Cup in July, the players are hungrier than ever for success and are all looking forward to getting back out on the field this weekend.
We have a challenging pool for Moscow; Germany reached the final of the Hong Kong Qualifier, Poland are always a strong and physical side and Portugal are a pacey team so it will be important that the players are focused throughout each game as we look to get things off to a good start.”
Sevens Summer Schedule
After Moscow, Ireland will compete at the World Sevens Series events in London (2nd & 3rd June) and Paris (9th & 10th June) as the invitational side – more information here: www.worldrugby.org/sevens-series
They then travel to Marcoussis in France for the second round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series (30th June and 1st July) and the following week they compete at the third round in Exeter (7th & 8th July).
The Men’s and Women’s 7s side will both compete at the World Rugby Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco over the weekend of the 20/21/22 July at the AT&T Stadium – tickets available here: www.rwcsevens.com/tickets
The final round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix takes place in Poland on the 8th & 9th September.
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2018 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series – Round 1, Oktyabr Stadium, Moscow, Russia, Saturday, May 19-Sunday, May 20):
Robert Balacoune (Enniskillen RFC/Ulster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution FC/Munster)
Billy Dardis (UCD RFC) Captain
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC/Leinster)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University FC)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne FC)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon RFC)
Mark Roche (Blackrock College RFC)
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Fixtures:
Moscow 7s – Pool B:
Saturday, May 19:
Ireland v Poland – 10.44am local time/8.44am Irish time
Ireland v Portugal – 1.29pm local time/11.29am Irish time
Ireland v Germany, 4.36pm local time/2.36pm Irish time
Sunday, May 20: