The Ireland Men’s 7s team will compete in the Rugby Europe Grand Prix for the first time this season, having won the Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy last year.

Working from the Ireland Rugby 7s base on Lansdowne Road, the squad will prepare for the series where they will play teams from across Europe, including the likes of England, Scotland, Wales, France and Russia – who are all currently competing on the World Rugby World Sevens Series.

There are two big opportunities for the Irish 7s side this season.

They will be looking to claim a place at the Hong Kong 7s Repechage next year, where the winner of that tournament will qualify for the World Rugby Sevens World Series for the 2018/19 season.

They can achieve this by finishing as one of the top two placed sides (outside of those who are not already a core team on the series) over the course of the Grand Prix.

The second big opportunity is qualification for the Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco next summer.

The Rugby Europe Grand Prix offers two places to nations outside of those who are already pre-qualified from the 2013 Moscow World Cup or via this season’s World Series.

The European sides who have already qualified are England, Wales and France, while Scotland look set to gain a spot via this season’s World Series.

Russia are the only European side on the Series who are outside of automatic qualification, so they, along with the likes of Spain, Germany, Portugal and Georgia look set to be Ireland’s main competition for the top two places.

The squad brings together players from a range of rugby backgrounds including provincial academy players, club players and dedicated 7s players.

Ian Fitzpatrick and Hugo Keenan have both played with Leinster ‘A’ this season, while Keenan made his Guinness PRO12 debut back in November away to Zebre.

Will Connors, Shane Daly, Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy and Jimmy O’Brien were all part of the Ireland U20 squad that were runners-up at the U20 World Championship last season.

The first round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix takes place in Moscow on June 3 and 4. Ireland will face Wales, Germany and Georgia in Pool A.

Ireland Men’s 7s Squad

David Busby (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Aaron Cairns (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Fionn Carr (Naas)
Will Connors (UCD/Leinster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Shane Daly (Cork Con/Munster)
Billy Dardis (UCD/Leinster)
Evan Dixon (Dublin University)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Ned Hodson (Cork Con/Munster)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Conor Kelly (Queens University/Ulster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
Shane Layden (Buccaneers)
Adam Leavy (Galwegians/Connacht)
Conor Lowndes (Galwegians/Connacht)
Mick McGrath (Clontarf)
Steve McMahon (Garryowen/Munster)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University)
Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
James O’Donovan (Trinity)
Edward O’Keeffe (Galwegians)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon/Munster)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne)
Josh Rowland (Galwegians)
Tom Stapley (Ballynahinch)
Nick Timoney (Queens University/Ulster)
Steve Toal-Lennon (Exile)

Rugby Europe Grand Prix:

  • June 3/4 – Moscow
  • June 10/11 – Lodz
  • July 1/2 – St. Etienne
  • July 15/16 – Exeter

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