The Ireland Men’s and Women’s Sevens squads, sponsored by TritonLake, have been named for this weekend’s Rugby World Cup Sevens, as excitement builds for the global tournament in Cape Town from 9-11 September.
Coming off the back of impressive HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series campaigns, both Ireland teams are brimming with confidence as they prepare to take on the world’s best teams in a straight knockout format at the iconic Cape Town Stadium.
Ireland Men have eight of last summer’s Olympians in the squad for South Africa, with James Topping‘s side recently securing a fifth place overall finish on the World Series, their best to date, while the season’s most prolific try-scorer, Terry Kennedy, is among the 12-player panel.
Billy Dardis captains Ireland Men, who face European rivals Portugal in Friday’s Pre-Round of 16 encounter (8.45am local time/7.45am Irish time), with the winner progressing through to the Round of 16 to face England.
Dardis and Kennedy, who scored 50 tries on the World Series in 2022, are joined by fellow Olympians Harry McNulty, Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche, Jack Kelly, Jordan Conroy and Hugo Lennox, while Leinster winger Andrew Smith, Ireland U20s Grand Slam winner Chay Mullins and Matt McDonald have all made big impacts during their first season on the Series and are set for their first RWC Sevens appearances.
Five players – Dardis, Kennedy, McNulty, Mollen and Conroy – were part of the 2018 RWC Sevens squad who won the Challenge Trophy in San Francisco.
Commenting on his selection, Head Coach Topping said: “We have been building towards Rugby World Cup Sevens since qualification in July, and the wider squad have really pushed each other in preparation for Cape Town. We were pleased with our World Series season, achieving a highest overall finish, but we know our performance will need to go up a level this weekend.
“It is a special opportunity for this group of players to represent their country at a World Cup, following on from last summer’s Olympics and a memorable World Series season. The group is excited and motivated to perform in the green jersey this weekend.”
Ireland Women, meanwhile, have spent the last 10 days in South Africa in preparation for RWC Sevens, as Aiden McNulty‘s side bid to continue their strong form having secured two podium finishes on the World Series in 2022, a memorable silver in Seville and bronze in Langford.
McNulty has been able to retain consistency in selection but the Ireland Head Coach has had to make a number of tough selection calls, with every player in the wider squad pushing each other during pre-season since the team’s qualification for Cape Town back in July.
The influential Lucy Mulhall will lead Ireland at a World Cup for the second time, having captained the side in San Fran four years ago. Stacey Flood, Kathy Baker, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, the World Series top try-scorer, and Eve Higgins are all also set for their second RWC Sevens appearances in green.
Young stars Erin King, Beibhinn Parsons and Kate Farrell McCabe have been outstanding under McNulty on the Series over the last 12 months and will play big roles this weekend, as Ireland Women open their campaign against Brazil in the Round of 16 on Friday afternoon (1.54pm local time/12.54pm Irish time).
Ahead of the tournament, McNulty said: “Our training camp in Stellenbosch was an excellent opportunity to put ourselves under pressure and prepare for the World Cup. Our precision and ability to bring a level of physical intensity has been excellent all week so we hope to transfer that this weekend. Selection as always has been tough, however I believe these are the 12 players who will deliver a world class performance.”
All of Ireland’s matches are live on the RTÉ Player in the Republic of Ireland, while there will be coverage across Irish Rugby social media channels and on IrishRugby.ie. A full list of broadcasters is available here.
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022, Cape Town Stadium, September 9-11, 2022):
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC)(capt)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Matt McDonald (IQ Rugby)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College RFC)
Chay Mullins (IQ Rugby)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster).
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022, Cape Town Stadium, September 9-11, 2022):
Kathy Baker (Blackrock College RFC)
Megan Burns (Blackrock College RFC)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC)
Katie Heffernan (Railway Union RFC)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC)
Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC)
Erin King (Old Belvedere RFC)
Emily Lane (Blackrock College RFC)
Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC)
Lucy Mulhall (Wicklow RFC)(capt)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union RFC)
Beibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC).
IRELAND SEVENS Schedule (Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022, Cape Town Stadium, September 9-11, 2022):
Friday, September 9:
Pre-Round of 16:
- Ireland Men v Portugal – 8.45am local time/7.45am Irish time
Round of 16:
- Ireland Women v Brazil – 1.54pm local time/12.54pm Irish time.
All matches live on the RTÉ Player