Wednesday, December 04, 2019

By Daire Walsh

Ireland men’s sevens star Terry Kennedy insists experience as an invitational side will stand them in good stead for their World Series bow as ‘a core’ nation in Dubai tomorrow.

Despite only claiming full status on the circuit as recently as April, Anthony Eddy’s charges have already competed in four World Series tournaments. Most notably, they achieved third spot at last year’s London Sevens.

“We’ve played all the big teams and we know what to expect. That experience will stand to us,” Kennedy acknowledged ahead of tomorrow’s Pool B tussle with US.

“We’re just going to try and build tournament-by-tournament. We know what we can do. If we’re on song, we can compete with the best.

Obviously now we’re full-time on the Series, people are going to know what to expect from us. If we get our processes right, the end target will look after itself.

In addition to their showdown against the USA— who are coached by former Wasps scrum half Mike Friday— Ireland will also face Australia and Scotland at on Friday.

Now they have achieved the goal of reaching the World Series stage, Ireland will have their sights set on securing Olympic qualification in 2020. Following a bronze finish at a European qualifier at Colomiers in July, they have progressed to a World Rugby Repechage in June of next year.

Only the winner of this event will seal an elusive ticket on the plane to Tokyo and Kennedy admits this will be their ultimate priority for the season.

“The Olympics has to be our main focus for the year. Each tournament, we want to get better and better. We want to peak come that Olympic qualifier at the end of June to put us in a really good place to qualify for the tournament. That would be an incredible opportunity.”

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