The IRFU High Performance Centre will this weekend play host to the first of three IRFU Academy 7s tournaments, as the Ireland’s Mens Sevens return to action alongside Ulster, Connacht, and Munster in an exciting series of games.
Anthony Eddy’s Ireland will step-up their preparations for the 2021 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series against the three provinces at the Sport Ireland Campus on Saturday, with the inaugural Academy 7s tournament set to provide players with a valuable platform to boost game-time and sharpen their match intensity in a competitive environment.
Among those set to line out at the IRFU High Performance Centre are a number of players from last season’s Ireland Under-20 squad, including Munster’s Jack Crowley; Lewis Finlay and Hayden Hyde of Ulster and the Connacht trio of Cathal Forde, Oran McNulty and Joshua Dunne.
Former Ireland Sevens internationals Alex McHenry and Jack Daly form part of a strong Munster side travelling to Dublin, while Cormac Izuchukwu and Aaron Sexton bring Sevens experience to the Ulster squad having been part of the National programme in recent seasons.
“This tournament provides opportunity and exposure to players on so many levels – firstly they get the opportunity to play some rugby, to test themselves against a National team and on the other hand, the National team has the opportunity to show what they do,” Anthony Eddy, the IRFU Director of Women’s and Sevens Rugby, said.
“It also puts some young players in the frame for National selection at a later date and is valuable game-time for all players involved. I expect the tournament to be very competitive and over the three legs, you would hope to see some real improvement in all the teams.”
The Provincial coaches and strength and conditioning staff have been working closely with the Ireland Sevens management in advance of Saturday, utilising the expertise and experience on hand to prepare their sides for the tournament.
Peter Smyth, the IRFU Head of Elite Player Development, commented: “The inaugural Academy 7s Series will provide the Academy players with a welcome return to competitive action this weekend. To have six matches back to back between the Provincial and National 7s squads will give the players the opportunity to test their core skills under match intensity and conditions.
“It will also give their respective coaching and management teams the ability to benchmark and assess the player’s development against their peers throughout the country.”
There will be live updates from the Academy 7s tournament on Irish Rugby social media channels and on IrishRugby.ie this Saturday.
Follow the action using #Academy7s.
IRFU Academy 7s Squads:
Ireland: Aaron O’Sullivan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Gavin Mullin, Peter Maher, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Billy Dardis, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Duran Krummeck, Steven Kilgallon, Jordan Conroy, Eanna Madden.
Connacht: Cathal Forde, Shane Jennings, Oran McNulty, Sean O’Brien, Diarmuid Kilgallen, Donnacha Byrne, Hubert Costello, Declan Adamson, Dylan Tierney, Oisin McCormack, Joshua Dunne.
Munster: Eoghan Clarke, Scott Buckley, Jack Daly, Jack Crowley, Jake Flannery, Jonathan Wren, Sean French, Jack O’Sullivan, Alex McHenry, Liam Coombes, Calvin Nash, Matt Gallagher.
Ulster: Azur Allison, Ben Carson, Lewis Finlay, Hayden Hyde, Bruce Houston, Cormac Izuchukwu, Greg Jones, Conor Rankin, Marcus Rea, Aaron Sexton, David Shanahan.
IRFU Academy 7s Schedule – Saturday 17th October:
- Connacht v Ulster, IRFU High Performance Centre, 11am
- Ireland v Munster, IRFU High Performance Centre, 11.22am
- Ireland v Connacht, IRFU High Performance Centre, 12.02pm
- Munster v Ulster, IRFU High Performance Centre, 12.22pm
- Ulster v Ireland, IRFU High Performance Centre, 1.06pm
- Connacht v Munster, IRFU High Performance Centre, 1.28pm