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Disappointment for Ireland 7s in defeat to South Africa on Olympics debut

Gavin Mullin and Terry Kennedy scored tries in a 33-14 loss in Tokyo.

Foster Horan impressed for Ireland.
Foster Horan impressed for Ireland.
Image: Photosport/Kenji Demura/INPHO

THE IRELAND MEN’S 7s team have opened their debut Olympics campaign with a disappointing 33-14 defeat to South Africa.

Anthony Eddy’s side were in the contest at half-time, having scored through Gavin Mullin just before the break to trail 14-7 but the Blitzboks were clinical in finishing them off thereafter in Tokyo.

Ireland are still in the mix for a place in the quarter-finals, with two more games to go in Group C. They play the US at 10.30am Irish time today and then face Kenya at 3am Irish on Tuesday.

They will reflect on the need to reduce their error count and improve their breakdown work after losing to the South Africans in a game where the Irish attack never really got fully firing.

They went behind in the third minute after back-to-back breakdown penalty concessions resulted in Zain Davids stepping his way over from 10 metres out.

The impressive Foster Horan got Ireland going with a surge up the left but Jordan Conroy was then harshly penalised for rolling on the ground after being tackled. The South Africans were soon down the other end scoring through Impi Visser, who gathered an excellent Justin Geduld diagonal kick to finish.

Ireland did strike back in the closing seconds of the half as Horan made another good carry before Terry Kennedy’s pass out to the left allowed Mullin to cross untouched, with captain Billy Dardis converting for 14-7.

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gavin-mullin Gavin Mullin scored for Ireland. Source: Photosport/Kenji Demura/INPHO

The Blitzboks had a score just a minute into the second half, however, as Geduld got on the end of a clever kick from Selvyn Davids.

The South Africans kicked several restarts out on the full in this game and those mistakes gave Ireland some access, with their next attacking set ending with Kennedy swinging from right to left on a typically probing run before he passed to Harry McNulty and looped around him to take a return pass and scorch clear for Ireland’s second try.

But there was to be no comeback as South Africa sealed the deal with two tries into the right corner, the first with a dubious grounding from Chris Day as Kennedy attempted to prevent the score, and then through Stedman Gans in the final minute.

Ireland squad: Jordan Conroy, Billy Dardis (captain), Ian Fitzpatrick, Foster Horan, Jack Kelly, Terry Kennedy, Adam Leavy, Hugo Lennox, Harry McNulty, Gavin Mullin, Greg O’Shea, Mark Roche, Bryan Mollen.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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