We have the match start times and team news for the most important weekend of the year for the Ireland 7’s rugby team.
They will travel to Hong Kong next week for the upcoming HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series qualifying tournament.
Ireland will returning to the scene of where they lost out in the semi-final stages last year and they will open their tournament with a game with Jamaica. They are in Pool F of the competition and will play Jamaica, Uruguay and Russia. The winners of the tournament will secure automatic core status on the Seven Series for 2020 so a big prize is at stake for the Irish.
Ireland coached by Anthony Eddy will play Jamaica who are the North American Champions first at the Hong Kong Stadium on Friday April 5th, kick off for that game is 5.38am Irish time. Ireland will face Uruguay then that afternoon at the same stadium on the same day a few hours later at 8.43am Irish time Ireland easily beat these two sides in the competition last year, beating Jamaica 26-0 and Uruguay 36-0. The final pool game Ireland will play is against Russia on Saturday the 6th of April again at the Hong Kong Stadium, that game kicks off at 3.08am Irish time. Ireland beat the Russians 38-0 last July when they met
Looking at the other groups, Pool E sees the hosts Hong Kong, Tonga, Zimbabwe and the Philippines. Germany the beaten finalists for the last two years at this event are in Pool G along with Chile, Uganda and the Cook Islands.
Ireland will be expected to go far in the competition perhaps reach the semi-finals at the very least and then from there anything can happen, it will be difficult as Germany would be my favourites to win the competition going on form over the last two season at the event.
Eight of the players named in the squad competed at last year’s competition, where Ireland were knocked-out at the Semi-Final stage to eventual winners Japan.
Captain Billy Dardis, Ian Fitzpatrick, Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Harry McNulty, Bryan Mollen, John O’Donnell and Mark Roche all ran out at Hong Kong Stadium last year, while Foster Horan was 13th man.
In Hong Kong for the first time are Jordan Conroy, Adam Leavy, Mick McGrath and Greg O’Shea.
Ireland are drawn in Pool F in with Russia, Uruguay and Jamaica
They face Jamaica and Uruguay in their opening pool games on Friday 5th April and then face Russia on Saturday 6th, with the first round of knock-out games take place that evening.
The Semi-Finals and Final take place on Sunday 7th April.
Ahead of the side departing for Hong Kong, Anthony Eddy said;
“There have been many learnings since last year’s Hong Kong experience, with some very positive moments for the team.
They players have been exposed to a high level of competition and have tasted success during the year.
Competing at the World Series events in London and Paris, winning Rugby Europe and doing well at the Rugby World Cup, while also claiming the Dubai Invitational title has helped the players grow in confidence, as well as developing their skills by playing against the top sides in the world.
The Hong Kong Qualifier is a tough, winner takes all competition, and having experienced last year’s tournament, everyone involved is focused on the performance that is required for six games and claiming a position on next season’s World Series.”
Ireland Men’s 7s Squad – World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier – Hong Kong 7s – 5/6/7 April
Billy Dardis (Terenure RFC)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne FC)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne FC)
Hugo Keenan (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Adam Leavy (Lansdowne FC)
Mick McGrath (Clontarf FC)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College RFC)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne FC)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon RFC)
Mark Roche (Blackrock College RFC)
Ireland Men’s 7s – World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier – Hong Kong 7s –Pool F Fixtures
Friday 5th April 2019
Ireland v Jamaica – 12.38pm (local time) / 5.38am (Irish time)
Ireland v Uruguay – 3.43pm (local time) / 8.43am (Irish time)
Saturday 6th April 2019
Ireland v Russia – 10.08pm (local time) / 3.08am (Irish time)
Sunday 7th April 2019
Semi-Finals and Final