Incredible support lifts a ‘more aggressive’ Ireland side to bronze


It was like being back at the Rugby World Cup. All you had to do at Perth’s HBF Park last weekend was close your eyes and it was as if you were transported back in time four months to France.

Ireland’s rugby anthem ‘Zombie’ by The Cranberries was played practically every time the men and women in green graced the field, and the crowd sang every word with passion and vibrance.

As Ireland sevens star Jordan Conroy said on Sunday, “You’d think you’re back in Ireland.” The crowd was just that good, so the players themselves “had to show some love.”

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It ended up being a supremely successful weekend for both Irish rugby sevens sides. The women’s team tasted Cup final glory for the first time ever with a 19-14 upset win over Australia.

But only a few minutes before that now-famous women’s decider got underway, the Irish men walked off the field with gleaming smiles stretched across their faces.

After falling short of a medal in Cape Town in December with a fourth-place finish, Ireland made amends with a captivating 24-7 win over Fiji in the Perth bronze final.

The players celebrated like they’d won the final in front of many Irish supporters – and nobody can blame them for that. It was a step in the right direction for a team with big ambitions.

“This crowd has been absolutely amazing,” Ireland sevens star Jordan Conroy told RugbyPass in Perth on Sunday.

“We’re very disappointed in how the semi-final turned out so we had to pick ourselves back up because it wasn’t all doom and gloom, we had a medal to play for.

“It’s always really positive to end on a win.

“We’ve challenged ourselves to always get on a podium every tournament and being able to do that, it really brings us a lot of confidence into the next one.

“We’re really happy with the performance and how we finished on a really good note.”

Ireland stood tall during the SVNS Cape Town pool stages and quickly emerged as the team to beat heading into the business end of the weekend.

The fighting Irish defeated hosts South Africa in pool play, but a first-ever SVNS Series win over New Zealand propelled them to ‘favourites’ status along with Argentina – but that presented a problem.

Argentina were waiting for them in the semi-finals, and the star-studded side showed their class with a 26-19 win. Los Pumas Sevens went on to win the Cup final, too, just as they did in Perth.

Ireland were also beaten in the bronze final. That left them with something to prove at last weekend’s SVNS Series leg Down Under.

“We had a little bone to pick because we felt like we left a medal behind in Cape Town,” Conroy added. “Going through it, we performed really well but we let ourselves down at the end.

“We came back and we just regrouped and we had a different mindset – a lot stronger, a lot more aggressive and it worked out, thank God.

“We have to build on it, that’s the next challenge, we have to try and keep consistent.”

Still smiling, despite the heat, Conroy had one last message for the Irish faithful who had supported them throughout a rollercoaster of a tournament in Perth.

“You’d think you’re back in Ireland with the amount of support you had there.

“We had to show some love to them because they’re behind us every single match, every step of the way.

“It’s a thank you from us to them for being behind us. What a strong Irish crowd. You can’t beat it.”

SVNS Vancouver gets underway on February 23 to 25. Those interested in watching some of the world’s best rugby while enjoying the best party in town can get tickets HERE.





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