Ireland Men Sevens team will also be competing in Hamilton this weekend in their HSBC World Rugby Seven Series. The men’s competition has ten legs, as opposed the the women’s eight and the Hamilton 7’s are the start of a fairly hectic few months for the men.
The men’s competition has only completed two legs (Dubai and Cape Town) so they have another eight to fit in between now and the end of May.
With the matches due to kick off tonight we have the competing Ireland squad confirmed from the tournament organisers.
FRU Favourite Brian Mollen returns after missing Dubai and Cape Town and Liam Turner is called up as the 13th man, completing a well trodden path following his ever present season in the U20’s.
Blackrock’s Aaron O’Sullivan misses out on this one, despite playing in the opening two legs, but I suspect he will be used next week in Sydney.
The squad and their stats for his season are shown below.
We haven’t had much chance to watch any of the sevens this season and we were sort of hoping that Ulster’s Iwan Hughes or Aaron Sexton would get a run. However, it’s a fairly settled squad and they have been doing better than OK so I suspect we’ll have to wait until the European Grand Prix fixtures until we see the Ulster lads.
You can catch up with the opening two legs below.
Hamilton, and Sydney next weekend, will be interesting challenges for Ireland men who are really only at that “settling in” stage in the World Series. They are, by some distance, the least experienced side in the competition.
Their performance in Cape Town was probably well ahead of their development curve but if they pick up a couple more top 8 finishes over the next fortnight, or even one, they will have truly arrived.
The only minor niggle at this stage is that they don’t appear to be blooding many at this level, relying almost totally on the core of players that got them into the World Series in the first place. However, as the women have found, a few injuries to that core and it can all derail fairly quickly and they do have a particularly busy few months coming up!
As with the women the men kick off Friday night in UK/IRE which is Saturday morning in New Zealand. Pool schedule as follows.
- Ireland v Canada, 10.57pm Friday 24th January UK/IRE
- Ireland v Spain, 4.24am Saturday 25th January UK/IRE
- Ireland v France, 10.29pm Saturday 25th January UK/IRE