Ireland Sevens qualify for Olympics after stunning comeback win over France
FRANCE 19-28 IRELAND
The Ireland Sevens side are off to the Tokyo Olympics after a stunning final victory over France at the Monaco Sevens.
The event was used as a World Rugby Repechage qualifier for the Tokyo Games, and Ireland qualified in style, despite trailing 12-7 at half-time.
Ireland reached the final after wins over Zimbabwe, Samoa and, in the semi-final, a 28-5 victory over Hong Kong. A stealthy, physical France awaited them in the final.
Terry Kennedy, who had a superb tournament, drew first blood with a great snipe up the blindside and the kick was converted to put Ireland 7-0 up.
Stephen Parez' nifty footwork unlocked the Irish defence, late in the first half, and it was 7-7 after his dot down under the posts was converted. That was 12-7 within a matter of seconds as Ireland lost the restart and Paulin Riva benefitted from an offload to canter over.
The second-half saw Ireland burn into a 14-12 lead after a stunning line-break from Jordan Conroy, which saw him leave four French players in his wake. That score was converted and Ireland led by two.
Conroy blazed in his second, soon after, and Ireland captain Billy Dardis gave them breathing room with a clutch touchline conversion. The men in green were 21-12 ahead with three minutes to go.
Harry McNulty sealed Olympic qualification when he raced over for a late score, with the French response a mere consolation.