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Friday 13 December 2019

Ireland's sevens are up for it in Dubai

Billy Dardis
Billy Dardis

The scale and magnificence of the National Sports Complex has to be seen to be believed.

The Ireland 7s captain Billy Dardis is still not quite used to the world-class facility he can call his workplace.

"It is a high-performance environment. It is just class," he smiled. "I've brought a few people in here and they say how energising the whole thing is, how motivating it all is."

The impressive IRFU structure within the complex couldn't have been completed at a better time as Ireland embark on their first adventure as a member of the World Series, reserved for the Top 15 nations and one invitational side, a spot Ireland have filled on four previous occasions.

"It is an incredible facility. We're spoiled, completely spoiled," said Dardis.

"It has given us every support and opportunity to succeed. It is all up to us now to perform."

The 14 weeks of pre-season have been eased by intermittent events in Chester, London and Elche in Spain, leaving the squad fresh and enthused and fit to fire their best shot in Dubai.

The core of the group that qualified Ireland in Hong Kong last April, namely Adam Leavy, Bryan Mollen, Greg O'Shea, Jordan Conroy and John O'Donnell, remains in situ.

The series should be the perfect springboard for the World Rugby Repechage tournament next summer, the winners of which will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

IRELAND MEN'S SQUAD

(Dubai SEVENs, Thursday December 5 to Saturday, December 7): A O'Sullivan*; A Leavy, Billy Dardis (Capt), B Mollen, F Horan, G O'Shea, H McNulty, H Lennox , J Kelly, J O'Donnell, J Conroy, M Roche, T Kennedy.

IRELAND MEN'S MATCH SCHEDULE Pool B Thursday, December 5:

Ireland v USA, Dubai Sevens Stadium, 2.12pm Irish time.

Friday, December 6: Ireland v Australia, Dubai Sevens Stadium, 7.58am Irish time; Ireland v Scotland, Dubai Sevens Stadium, 1.50pm Irish time

Saturday, December 7: Men's Play-Offs & Finals, Dubai Sevens Stadium, TBC.

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