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Former Leinster winger Billy Dardis captains Ireland for Grand Prix opener

This weekend’s tournament in Moscow will be the first time Ireland have competed at that level.

Dardis left Leinster at the end of last season.
Dardis left Leinster at the end of last season.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

DIRECTOR OF SEVENS rugby Anthony Eddy has announced his squad for this weekend’s Rugby Europe Grand Prix opener in Moscow, with the competition offering Ireland the chance to qualify for the Sevens Rugby World Cup.

Former Leinster winger Billy Dardis captains the 12-man panel for the opening round of the series with Ireland drawn in a pool alongside Wales, Germany and Georgia.

It will be the first time Ireland have competed at this level and the squad has an exciting blend of youth and experience with Connacht’s record try-scorer Fionn Carr and Clontarf’s Mick McGrath among those included.

“The players involved in the programme this season have been working hard in training over the past number of weeks in build up to the Grand Prix Series,” Eddy said.

“They’ve competed against some strong opposition at the likes of the Dublin 7s and the Amsterdam 7s as part of preparation for the series and I know they’re looking forward to getting out there and playing this weekend.”

Dardis is joined by UCD team-mates Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O’Brien and Harry McNulty while Lansdowne provide three players with Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell and Mark Roche all involved.

Jordon Conroy, who was recently named Ulster Bank League 1B player of the year, and Ulster back-row Nick Timoney complete the travelling party.

Eddy continued: “We’re in a tough pool for the opening round, with Wales performing well on the World Sevens Series this season, while Germany have a strong Sevens programme in place and Georgia are always a strong and physical side, so it will be important that the players are focused throughout each game as we look to get things off to a good start.”

The Rugby Europe Grand Prix offers two places to nations outside of those who are already pre-qualified for the World Cup.

Ireland begin their tournament against Wales on Saturday morning before games against Germany and Georgia.

Ireland squad:

Fionn Carr (Naas)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
Billy Dardis (UCD)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Mick McGrath (Clontarf)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne)
Nick Timoney (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster)

Ireland’s fixtures:

  • Ireland v Wales – 10am (local time) / 8am (Irish time)
  • Ireland v Germany – 1.07pm (local time) / 11.07am (Irish time)
  • Ireland v Georgia – 3.52pm (local time) / 1.52pm (Irish time)

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