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Ireland 7s look to wrap up Grand Prix title in Poland this weekend

Skerries RFC’s Hugo Lennox is set to win his first international sevens cap.

IRELAND WILL ATTEMPT to secure the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix title this weekend in Poland, with a strong lead on the overall table coming into the final leg in Lodz meaning they are favourites to do so.

Having won the opening two legs of the series in Russia and France earlier this year, as well as securing a bronze medal in Exeter in July, Ireland approach this weekend with a 10-point lead over England in the overall standings.

Ireland’ team celebrate winning the Challenge Cup Ireland won the Challenge Cup at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco in June. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

That means even a fifth-place finish in Lodz would see Ireland claim the Grand Prix title for the first time, after finishing second overall in last year’s competition.

Ireland’s success so far in the 2018 edition means they have already secured a place at the all-important Hong Kong 7s World Series Qualifier next year.

Winning that Hong Kong tournament in April 2019 would see Ireland qualify onto the top-tier World Rugby Sevens Series ahead of the 2019/20 season, which has been the central goal for the IRFU’s men’s sevens programme since it relaunched in 2015.

Billy Dardis will captain the Ireland squad again in Lodz this weekend, with sevens regulars such as Jordan Conroy, Harry McNulty and Terry Kennedy returning.

Skerries RFC’s Hugo Lennox is set to win his first international sevens cap, having already featured for Ireland in non-capped tournaments.

The entire tournament in Lodz will be live streamed on the Rugby Europe website

Last weekend, Ireland’s women’s sevens team secured a bronze-medal finish in the women’s Grand Prix Series by placing fifth at the Kazan 7s.

Emily Lane, Anna Doyle, Brittany Hogan and Megan Burns all made their Ireland debuts in Russia.

The IRFU announced this week that sevens internationals Kathy Baker and Eve Higgins, who is highly-rated, are currently on placement with Bond University in Australia to gain experience playing in the Aon University 7s over the next few months.

Ireland men’s sevens squad for Lodz 7s:

Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen RFC/Ulster academy)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure RFC) (captain)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Adam Leavy (Lansdowne FC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock RFC)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne FC)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon RFC)

Fixtures:

Saturday, 8 September [all kick-offs in Irish time]:

Ireland v Italy, KO 10.06am
Ireland v Spain, KO 12.29pm
Ireland v Portugal, KO 3.14pm

Sunday, 9 September:

Play-offs [to be confirmed]

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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