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Olympics dream still alive for men's 7s team, but disappointment for Irish women's side


It was a mixed weekend for Ireland's 7s sides at their Olympic qualification tournaments, with the men's side still harbouring ambitions of Tokyo 2020, but the Olympic dream is over for the women's team.

Both sides could have sealed a place at the 2020 games with victory at their respective tournaments in Colomiers and Kazan, but a quarter-final defeat to England ended those hopes for Stan McDowell's women's team.

They were beaten 17-7 in their quarter-final in Russia, having led 7-0 early on. Hannah Tyrrell crossed the line for Ireland, after strong carries in the build-up by Kathy Baker and scrum-half Stacey Flood.

Ultimately, England came back to win the quarter-final, and eventually went on to win the tournament outright, taking the Olympic place on offer on behalf of Team GB. Ireland ended the week fifth overall, bouncing back from that defeat to see off Romania and Portugal despite their Olympic disappointment.

In the men's tournament in Colomiers, Ireland also knew the victory would see them book their pass to the 2020 games in Tokyo, but a third-place finish has ensured they will have one more chance to qualify at the World Repechage next year.

Entering the week as second-seed, Anthony Eddy's side breezed through the pool stage with massive wins against Ukraine and Russia, before second-half tries for Billy Dardis, Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy saw them come from 17-0 down against Spain, to draw 17-17 in their final pool game.

In the quarterfinals, they also had too much for Germany, but a 19-12 semi-final defeat to France in the meant they would enter the third-place playoff against Portugal knowing it was win-or-bust for their Olympic ambitions.

Second-half tries for Harry McNulty helped them to a 26-12 win against Portugal in the Bronze final, which was enough for Ireland to book their place in the World Rugby Repechage alongside France, where only the champions advance to Tokyo. The other confirmed Repechage sides so far are Brazil, Chile, Jamaica and Mexico, with six more to be involved.

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