They have been operating somewhat under our radar, but Ireland Men Sevens side take part in the final leg of the 2017 Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series this weekend in Exeter.

With three legs already completed the series has been an outstanding success for Ireland men who won the competitions in Moscow and Clermont-Ferrand and came third in Lodz, leaving the team sitting proudly on top of the rankings as they go into the final leg.

Ireland Men Sevens Grand Prix Series Standings

Team Moscow Lodz Clermont Exeter Points
Ireland 20 16 20 56
Russia 16 20 18 54
Spain 18 18 16 52
Germany 8 12 14 34
France 12 8 10 30
Wales 3 14 12 29
Italy 14 4 4 22
Georgia 6 6 6 18
England 4 10 3 17
Portugal 10 2 1 13
Belgium 2 3 8 13
Poland 1 1 2 4

 

This is important because the competition gives Ireland a possible gateway into the 2018 – 19 HSBC World Rugby World Series as well as a route to qualify for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens. Ireland Men Sevens achieved the first objective last time out in Clermont in that they secured a place in the World Series Repechage in Hong Kong in early 2018.

They are also in prime position for a 2018 World Cup spot with effectively a top three finish required here, though there are other possible pathways, depending on the results of others.

Ireland are drawn in Pool A in Exeter alongside France, Belgium and Portugal. They have met all these teams already this series, the head to head results highlighted below.

opponents pl w d l pf pa
Wales 3 3 0 0 82 15
Russia 3 2 0 1 64 61
Germany 2 1 0 1 47 35
Portugal 2 2 0 0 45 22
Spain 2 2 0 0 29 5
Italy 1 1 0 0 35 0
Poland 1 1 0 0 28 10
Belgium 1 1 0 0 28 5
Georgia 1 1 0 0 19 14
England 1 1 0 0 19 5
France 1 1 0 0 7 5
total 18 16 0 2 403 177
% games played 100% 89% 0% 11%

 

Ireland have a 100% win record against the three teams in their group, though their only game against France this series was a close affair with only a conversion splitting the teams.

Going on past results it should all come down to the Quarter Finals where Ireland will hope to avoid Russia, the only other team to win one of the legs. If Ireland progress beyond the Quarter Finals then qualification for the World Cup should be a formality.

Ireland Men Sevens Squad

Fionn Carr (Naas)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Billy Dardis (UCD) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Adam Leavy (Galwegians/Connacht) *
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne)
Nick Timoney (Queen’s University/Ulster)

* Denotes uncapped player

Ireland Men Sevens Fixtures

Saturday, July 15:

Ireland v Portugal, Sandy Park, 11.30am
Ireland v Belgium, Sandy Park, 2.15pm
Ireland v France, Sandy Park, 5pm

Sunday, July 16:

TBC

The Exeter 7s will be broadcast on Sky Sports 5 on Saturday and Sky Sports 3 on Sunday. There will also be live streaming on www.rugbyeurope.tv.

We’ve covered Fionn Carr, Billy Dardis, Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O’Brien, Mark Roach and, of course Nick Timoney in previous articles, mostly U20’s stuff. Just click on their tag below for more information on the players. #loverugby #thefru

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