Six years after embarking on a rollercoaster journey from the bottom tier of European Sevens Rugby, Ireland Men’s Sevens have realized their Olympic dream by booking their place at the Tokyo Games courtesy of a 28-19 victory at the final Qualifying tournament in Monaco.
Anthony Eddy‘s side created history on a magical evening for Irish Rugby at the Stade Louis II with victory over France in the final of the World Rugby Sevens Repechage, as they secured the 12th and final place in the Men’s Sevens competition in Tokyo.
Terry Kennedy’s try gave Ireland an early lead before scores from Stephen Perez and Paulin Riva put France ahead.
Ireland responded through Jordan Conroy, who scored a pair of second-half tries, while Harry McNulty added a fourth as they booked their ticket for July 26-28 men’s sevens competition at the Tokyo Games.
“It’s just bizarre,” Ireland captain Billy Dardis said. “I thought we were out of it for a while in the first half when they had so much possession and then we got a few lucky bounces.
“That’s sevens. The bounce of the ball goes your way and to end up in the Olympics like that is just incredible.”
In the women’s final qualifiers, Russia beat Kazakhstan 38-0 to seal their first Olympic spot while France denied Hong Kong 51-0 to secure the remaining berth.
Teams that have qualified for men’s sevens rugby at Tokyo Olympic:
Argentina, Australia, Canada, Fiji, Britain, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, New Zealand, South Africa, United States.
Teams that have qualified for women’s sevens rugby at Tokyo Olympic:
Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Fiji, France, Britain, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Russia, United States.
The Olympic Men’s Rugby Sevens competition will take place from 26-28 and 29-31 July (Women’s) with all the action taking place at Tokyo Stadium, which hosted the opening match of Rugby World Cup 2019.