Ireland cruelly miss out on Rugby World Cup Sevens final despite 'mother of all upsets'
IRELAND 10-17 NEW ZEALAND
Ireland Sevens stars reached the semi finals of the Rugby World Cup Sevens, but they were defeated by two-time champions New Zealand in a pulsating last four encounter.
It took the reigning champions, New Zealand only 28 seconds to open the scoring. Ireland spilled a restart and never got the ball back until Ngahori McGarvey-Black cantered over and dotted down in the left-hand corner.
The next restart was claimed but Ireland were bulled at the breakdown and the counter-ruck saw McGarvey-Black pick up the ball and blitz over for a second try in short succession. Both scores were unconverted, so Ireland trailed 10-0.
There was hope for Ireland, just before the break, as Moses Leo was yellow-carded for a cynical tackle, off the ball. Ireland took advantage with a hard-worked move that saw John Kelly score a try in the corner, which was also unconverted. 10-5 to the Kiwis at the break.
The second half saw Harry McNulty disrupt the New Zealanders at the restart and Andrew Smith pounce on a breaking ball to steam over. It was level at 10-10 when Billy Dardis missed his drop-kick conversion.
Restored to seven players, after Leo's sin-binning, the Kiwis were on the charge but some heroic defending from Ireland repelled them. They were put on the back-foot after a tough decision against Jordan Conroy for tackling a player before he gathered the ball.
Crucial decision cost ireland there. Amazing how they always benefit nz. #RWC7s
— Brenden Nel (@Brendennel) September 11, 2022
It was a stout rear-guard action but it was that man McGarvey-Black that broke through for a hat-trick that made it 17-10 when it was converted from close range. There was still time for a late Ireland Sevens rally, but the Kiwi's counter-rucking closed the match out.
To reach the semi-finals, Ireland beat Portugal and England on the first day of the tournament, so knew they had a last eight match locked up. They had the whole day to wait for that quarter final, against hosts South Africa, and primed themselves for an upset against the Blitzbokke.
The game was tied 7-7 at the break, but tries from Harry McNulty and Jordan Conroy (a brace) sealed a fantastic victory that teed them up against a highly-rated New Zealand side. The commentators called it, 'The mother of all upsets', and it certainly felt that way.
Ireland Women struggle against established Sevens giants
The tournament did not go as well for the Irish women, in Cape Town. They defeated Brazil in their 'Round of 16' match, on the opening day, but were comprehensive losers to New Zealand in the last eight.
They fell 28-0 to the Kiwis then lost 24-0 to Fiji. Their tournament closes out with a 7/8th place match against England, this afternoon.