Both the Ireland Men’s and Women’s 7s sides are through to the quarter-finals of the Rugby Europe Olympics qualifying campaign after Anthony Eddy’s side secured two wins and a draw in Pool B.
Ireland began the tournament brightly with wins against Ukraine and Russia but had to fight back from a 17-0 half-time deficit to secure a draw with Spain in the pool’s final game.
Who they will meet in tomorrow’s quarter-final in France is yet to be determined.
Spain opened the scoring after less than two minutes after a mistimed tackle by the Ireland defence allowed the Spanish to race down the wing.
Despite the setback, Ireland did well to force Spain deep into their own half though they struggled to gain possession for the majority of the first period. Eddy’s side struggled to cope with the pace of their opposition and it was that factor that led to the second try for Spain three minutes from the break, though they failed to score either conversion.
Spain’s third try came courtesy of Manuel Sainz-Trapaga and the added conversion left the scoreline 17-0 at half-time despite some late pressure from Ireland that came undone due to a poor handling error.
☘️ Half-Time in Ireland Men's Final Pool Game of the @rugby_europe Olympic Qualifier in Colomiers:
Ireland Men's 7s 0 – 17 Spain.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) July 13, 2019
Ireland piled the pressure on Spain immediately from the restart and were rewarded with a try from captain Billy Dardis while their opponents also received a yellow card. Dardis added the conversion to leave 10 points between the sides.
It was a much-improved second half performance from Ireland as they forced errors from the Spanish and as a result of a scrum, Jordan Conroy raced over in the corner with Dardis’ conversion attempt from the sideline hitting the post.
With the clock in red, Terry Kennedy expertly finished a strong period of dominance for Ireland and crossed in the corner. However, Dardis was unable to add the conversion leaving the final score 17-17.
Ireland thundered into the Rugby Europe Olympic qualifying campaign with a 41-0 win over Ukraine before beating Russia on a scoreline of 52-14 earlier on Saturday.
The winner of this weekend’s tournament will secure a spot at the Tokyo Olympics while a second or third-place finish will guarantee another shot at qualification at a World Rugby Repechage next year.