IRELAND FINISHED THEIR encouraging run at the London 7s in sixth place, after losing 35-14 to New Zealand in the 5th place play-off at Twickenham this evening.
Anthony Eddy’s side fell short at the quarter-final stage, defeated by Olympic champions and eventual London 7s winners Fiji, but with their confidence boosted yet again after beating Canada, they produced a courageous — and improved — performance against the All Blacks.
Beaten 34-7 when the sides met in the pool stages, Ireland showed further encouraging sides today but the Kiwis dominated throughout.
Eddy’s charges started brightest as Terry Kennedy crossed in the third minute and that was then converted, but New Zealand bit back for a 14-7 half-time lead.
Captain Billy Dardis soon drew level, but the All Blacks scored three more tries to finish strongly. On another positive note though, Lansdowne winger Peter Sullivan earned his debut; Ireland’s third of the weekend.
Overall, it was an extremely positive tournament performance for Eddy’s young guns with wins over England and Scotland on Saturday seeing them into the last-eight stages.
They picked up 12 World Series points for their efforts across the water, and attention now switches to the Paris 7s next weekend as preparation for the Olympic qualifiers ramps up.
There, they find themselves in Pool A alongside Fiji, Argentina and England.