Eddy wants 7s springboard to Olympics
Anthony Eddy is hopeful the Ireland Men’s 7s can use the forthcoming World Series as the perfect springboard to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Following a recent third-place finish at a Rugby Europe tournament in Colomiers, the Billy Dardis-led side will progress to a qualification event next summer – where 12 nations will compete for the final spot on the plane to the Japanese capital.
Before then, the squad will embark on their debut season on the World Series circuit – having finally obtained full status courtesy of an impressive success at the Hong Kong 7s in April.
“It’s a major focus [the Olympics], but first and foremost we want to show we deserve the right to be on the World Series. Maintain our position on that, do pretty well throughout the year and use that as preparation for Olympic qualification,” Eddy explained.
“There’s 10 tournaments on the World Series.
“If we can have some success, use that experience of competing with those teams throughout that season, I think that puts us in a really good position around the Olympic qualification in June.”
Whereas the Women’s 7s begin their World Series journey at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado next weekend (October 5-6), the men will have to wait until December to get their campaign underway. Nevertheless, a succession of pre-season tournaments will sustain them ahead of that trip to Dubai.
“Added to that, Rugby X at the O2 Arena. It’s not Sevens, but it’ll be a similar style and we’re excited about it. Spain will host a warm-up tournament. The European teams will be going hard at that because they’ll use it as final preparation for Dubai.”
In addition to being the IRFU’s Director of Rugby Sevens, Eddy also serves as Director of Women’s Rugby across the 7s and 15s games. As part of an integrated season plan for the latter, the national side will face Wales in a November Test at the UCD Bowl.
The Australian admitted a level of frustration at not being able to secure a second international in this window, but believes away training camps in Scotland and France will more than compensate.