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Ireland name squads for next week's Sevens World Cup

Both the Ireland men and women will be in action in San Fransisco.

IRFU DIRECTOR OF sevens rugby Anthony Eddy has named his squads for the forthcoming men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens, which takes place next week in San Francisco.

Ashleigh Baxter, Hugo Keenan, Billy Dardis and Lucy Mulhall Ashleigh Baxter, Hugo Keenan, Billy Dardis and Lucy Mulhall at Monday's squad announcement. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Ireland men’s side will be looking to continue their impressive recent form when they face Chile in their knock-out qualifier on Friday 20 July [11.35pm Irish time], while Ireland will go head-to-head with England in the women’s tournament.

Ireland men, captained by Billy Dardis, go into the campaign on the back of an excellent season which has seen them finish third on their World Series debut in London, as well as claiming two out of the first three Grand Prix series titles.

Furthermore, the development of the programme is further underlined by the fact the team entered the lowest tier of Rugby Europe in 2015, and have now made their way to the World Cup for the first time in nine years.

Eddy has been able to name a strong panel for the tournament, but the loss of Mark Roche to a broken leg is an untimely blow for both the player and team, with the Lansdowne man a key figure in recent months.

The 13-man squad contains four players currently in a provincial academy, while Dardis is joined by UCD team-mates Hugo Keenan, Harry McNulty and Jimmy O’Brien.

Jordon Conroy scored 11 tries on the World Series stage in London and Paris and is among those included in the San Fran-bound squad.

“The entire squad have worked extremely hard and demonstrated a huge level of commitment to the programme, and selection for this World Cup squad has been extremely competitive,” Eddy said.

“It has been nine years since there’s been an Irish men’s team at the Rugby World Cup Sevens, and the players are really excited for the challenge that lies ahead and are keen to demonstrate the progress they have made over the last number of seasons.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and the players are looking forward to representing their country and putting in performances that demonstrate the commitment they have made to the success of the programme.”

Ireland players celebrate with their bronze medals Ireland recently finished third on their World Series debut. Source: Andrew Fosker/INPHO

Meanwhile, Lucy Mulhall will captain the Ireland women’s side after recently leading the team to a bronze medal finish in the opening leg of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series.

The former Wicklow GAA star has scored an impressive 85 points during this season’s Women’s Sevens Series, while Ireland’s record try-scorer Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe notched 18 tries on the circuit this term.

Ashleigh Baxter, a key forward and Ireland’s most-capped sevens international, is set to feature in her fourth World Cup tournament, having played in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in 2013 and two 15s World Cups in France in 2014 and Ireland in 2017.

Eddy added: “The players have all been looking forward to the Sevens World Cup for a number of months and they are all excited to make the journey to San Francisco.

“The team put in a number of good performances at the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series in Marcoussis in France recently and they’ll be looking to build on that going into the first game of the World Cup on Friday week.

“We have had several close games with England this season so it is set to be a challenging way to start the tournament, but the players are very focused and know what’s needed of them to get a result.”

The knock-out format of both the men’s and women’s tournament will see Ireland men go on to face South Africa in the last 16 should they advance past Chile in the qualifier match, with the loser dropping down to the Bowl quarter-finals.

The winners of the Ireland-England clash [Friday 20 July, 8.12pm Irish time] in the women’s draw will advance to the quarter-finals to meet either Mexico or New Zealand.

Ireland men’s squad:

  • Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen/Ballymena/Ulster)
  • Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
  • Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)
  • Billy Dardis (UCD) (captain)
  • Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne)
  • Foster Horan (Lansdowne)
  • Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
  • Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College)
  • Harry McNulty (UCD)
  • Bryan Mollen (Dublin University)
  • Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
  • John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
  • Greg O’Shea (Shannon)

Ireland women’s squad:

  • Kathy Baker (Blackrock/Leinster)
  • Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster)
  • Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster)
  • Aoife Doyle (Shannon/Railway Union/Munster)
  • Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
  • Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
  • Louise Galvin (UL Bohemian/Munster)
  • Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster)
  • Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum) (captain)
  • Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)
  • Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (UL Bohemians/Munster)
  • Audrey O’Flynn (Ireland Women’s Sevens Programme)
  • Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

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