Thursday 20 June 2019

Hugo Lennox all set up for Ireland's Olympic qualification bid

Rugby, International 7s:

Paul Byrne

It's been a busy couple of weeks on the international front for talented Skerries rugby player Hugo Lennox.

The 20-year-old, who made his international debut for the Ireland Men's Seven's team in Poland last September, was in action again recently with the Irish team taking part in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in London towards the end of May.

More recently, he took part at the Paris 7s which took place at Stade Jean-Bouin, the home of Stade Français, last weekend - which was his first taste of the World Series.

Lennox, who is currently plying his trade with Clontarf in the All-Ireland League, is now an established member of Anthony Eddy's squad and he was part of the impressive side who finished in a very creditable sixth position in the London 7s.

Ireland won three of their six matches, with the victories coming against England, Scotland and Canada, and they also gave Olympic gold medallists Fiji a huge scare before losing narrowly.

Lennox enjoyed a memorable World Series debut in London, making four starts, and capped off a fine tournament with a try against Canada.

Indeed, he opened the scoring in that match with a lovely show-and-go on half-way to sprint in unopposed after just 54 seconds in a game which Ireland would go on to win 33-14.

Ireland picked up 12 World Series points for their efforts in the English capital and the squad then moved on to Paris where they had their final outing as an invitational team in the series, featuring in Pool A alongside England, Argentina and Fiji.

These are the last competitive games for Ireland before they take part in the Olympic qualifiers, which begin in July.

Ireland began with a game against England, with Lennox again showing he is a deadly finisher with a try early on to put Ireland 12-0 ahead. He took a lovely line onto a short McNulty pass to score from close range in a game which Ireland would go on to win 27-14.

However, disappointment would follow, with defeats to both Argentina and Fiji - Lennox was a substitute in both those losses - which ensured Ireland would compete in the Challenge Cup on Sunday.

Hugo was back in the side for the Challenge quarter-final against Scotland and the youngster had a stormer, setting up Ireland's opening two tries before scampering clear to score one of his own just before half time.

Ireland eased to a 24-12 win to set up a semi-final against Australia and Lennox retained his place in the team and played his part as Ireland ran out 24-17 winners to book their place in the decider against Canada.

The impressive Lennox kept his place, but with only two men on the bench for Ireland it proved a step too far as a strong Canadian outfit eased to a 28-12 victory in 30-degree heat.

Nevertheless, it was a worthwhile experience for the Irish team and some valuable game time for Lennox who looks like he will be a key player for Ireland in the upcoming Olympic qualification series.

Fingal Independent