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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Travis Prior/INPHO Ireland celebrate their bronze medal win in Cape Town.
# History makers
Ireland beat Australia to win bronze at Sevens World Cup
Terry Kennedy provided two moments of magic as Ireland won 19-14 at the Cape Town Stadium.

THE IRELAND MEN’S Sevens team came from behind twice against Australia to win bronze at the Sevens World Cup.

Following a disappointing 17-10 defeat to New Zealand earlier on Sunday, James Topping’s side responded in brilliant fashion to beat Australia 19-14 in their bronze medal final at the Cape Town Stadium.

A closely contested first half delivered few opportunites before Australia opened the scoring shortly before half-time, a smart switch play allowing Nathan Lawson cut inside and break free from deep, with Stuart Dunbar’s conversion putting Australia 7-0 up. 

jordan-conroy-celebrates-with-his-medal Travis Prior / INPHO Ireland’s Jordan Conroy celebrates with his medal. Travis Prior / INPHO / INPHO

Yet there was still time for Ireland to respond and Sean Cribbin put them on the scoreboard with the last play of the opening period, diving under the posts before captain Billy Dardis converted to leave the two sides level at the break.

Corey Toole then extended Australia’s lead early in the second half, beating a string of Ireland defenders with a weaving run, his score once against converted by Dunbar. 

Yet Ireland clawed their way back into the contest again thanks to a superb score from the electric Terry Kennedy, who kicked in behind the Australia defence before winning the footrace and dotting down. Mark Roche added the conversion and the scores were tied again.

Kennedy was then instrumental in what proved to be the decisive score, getting his foot to a loose pass to keep a fine team move alive, with Harry McNulty adding the finishing touch in the corner.

The try was awarded following a quick TMO check, although this time Roche was off-target with his conversion attempt from the sideline.

A costly knock-on from Jimmy Turner then killed Australia’s last chance to respond, Ireland taking possession at the resulting scrum before Kennedy sent the ball into the stands to end the contest.

“It’s incredible. This group of ours, we never fail to surprise,” Kennedy said.

harry-mcnulty-scores-a-try Travis Prior / INPHO Ireland’s Harry McNulty scores a try. Travis Prior / INPHO / INPHO

“Every time our backs are against the wall we stand up. To lose that semi-final against New Zealand, and do that (against Australia), it’s incredible.”

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The third-place finish represents Ireland’s best finish at a Sevens World Cup, and caps a hugely encouraging year for the squad on the World Series circuit.

In May, Ireland secured their first medal as a World Series core team, taking silver in Toulouse. They finished fifth in the final World Series overall standings – their best finish since joining the circuit as a core team in 2019.

Earlier on Sunday, the Ireland women wrapped up their World Cup campaign by beating England to secure a seventh place finish

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