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Historic win as Ireland 7s stun USA to book London semi-final

Up next, a final-four clash against reigning Olympic champions Fiji.

John O'Donnell scored one of Ireland's three first-half tries.
John O'Donnell scored one of Ireland's three first-half tries.
Image: Andrew Fosker/INPHO

IRELAND HAVE MADE history with a seismic upset, beating the USA 22-12 to book their place in the semi-finals of the London 7s.

On an incredible morning in Twickenham, Anthony Eddy and Stan McDowell’s side ran in three unanswered tries in the first half and then weathered a second-half comeback to stun their fancied opponents, who currently sit fifth in the world series standings.

The Irish team, on the other hand, play their regular rugby on the second-tier challenge circuit and are only in London this week as an invitational team — their first appearance in the main series since 2004.

A brilliant pool performance on Saturday saw them become the first invitational side since Japan in 2016 to reach the knockout stages, and they then went one better with an incredible display against the US.

“I can’t applaud the boys more,” Ireland’s Director of 7s Eddy said afterwards. “It’s enormous.”

Up next for Ireland is a semi-final against reigning Olympic champions Fiji [2.48pm, Sky Sports Mix], who remain the form side in 7s rugby after winning the last three world series rounds.

Undaunted by their rivals, Ireland raced into an incredible 17-0 lead in the first half courtesy of tries from Saturday’s star Jordan Conroy, John O’Donnell and Hugo Keenan.

Martin Iosefo’s try cut the deficit to 10 points and ensured a nervy final few minutes, but Ireland had enough in the tank to hold on for victory.

“We had a plan that required us to be very accurate from kickoff. We were and we kept the pressure on them defensively,” Eddy said.

“Our target was to stay high on the outside and make them push the ball. From then we were excellent. We controlled the speed and the tempo and we used our speed to great effect.”

The second semi-final will see South Africa face either hosts England or Australia.

Updated 12.12: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated the final score as 22-17; it was 22-12.

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