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Ireland captain Billy Dardis reflects on historic bronze medal finish

Ireland

Billy Dardis believes Ireland will continue to improve after they claimed a bronze medal finish at the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022.

Ireland secured their best-ever result at the Rugby World Cup Sevens as they beat Australia in a thrilling encounter in the bronze medal final in Cape Town.

While New Zealand ended Ireland’s chance at gold medal glory in the semi-final, the men in green beat Portugal, England, South Africa and Australia in an excellent tournament showing.

Ireland captain Billy Dardis was speaking after his side’s historic win against World Series champions Australia and stressed that the group are determined to keep creating history.

Billy Dardis on Ireland’s bronze medal triumph.

“I think it’s only up from here. We’ve got the Olympics in two years’ time, we’ve got this year to try and qualify for that,” Dardis said.

“It’s extremely exciting to see what we can do as a group. I think (winning bronze) is a fair reflection of where we’ve got this programme to as players and staff.

“There’s a core group of lads, the last six years, who’ve worked as hard as they can to make this a world class programme and I think it’s just that.”

Major progression in just a few short years.

While Fiji were crowned as world champions in Cape Town, Ireland were the surprise package of the tournament as they underlined just how much they have improved in a few short years.

Ireland failed to reach the quarter-finals at last year’s Olympics, but a fifth-place finish in the World Rugby Sevens Series this year and a third-place finish at the World Cup has proven they are a team on the up.

The Irish rugby sevens programme was only re-established in 2015, while Ireland only became one of 15 core teams on the Sevens Series for the first time in the 2019/20 season.

After just three seasons of core status on the Sevens Series, two of which were severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Ireland are already proving themselves to be one of the best in the business.

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