Billy Dardis will captain the Ireland Sevens squad as they make their debut as a core team at the HSBC World Rugby Men's Sevens Series in Dubai next week.

After securing World Series qualification in Hong Kong last April, Ireland, who have made four previous appearances as an invitational side, will officially join the top table of Sevens rugby alongside the Ireland Women in the first combined event of the 2019/2020 season.

Included in the squad is Greg O'Shea, a winner on the reality show Love Island earlier this year. The Limerick native has been part of the 7s set-up since 2017.

Dardis (below) leads Ireland’s 13-man squad for the Dubai Sevens, while Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche, Foster Horan and Harry McNulty, who were part of the initial Men’s Sevens panel selected by Anthony Eddy and IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora in 2015, are all included.

Eddy has been able to retain the main core of the side that achieved World Series qualification in Hong Kong as Adam Leavy, Bryan Mollen, Jordan Conroy and John O’Donnell are all named in the squad to face USA, Australia and Scotland at The Dubai Sevens Stadium.

Leinster Academy back Aaron O’Sullivan, who made his Ireland Under-20 debut against England at last summer’s Under-20 World Championship in Argentina, is in line for his first Sevens cap, while former Ireland Under-20 captain Jack Kelly and Hugo Lennox of Skerries complete the panel.

Greg O'Shea pictured following his stint on the TV reality show Love Island

The Dubai Sevens marks the start of Ireland’s maiden World Series campaign and Eddy’s side will hope to use it as a springboard for next summer’s World Rugby Repechage tournament as they bid to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"The players have been looking forward to this for a long time and are delighted to be recognised as a core team on the World Series," head coach Anthony Eddy said.

"They will be very keen to put in a performance that justifies all the hard work they have done to reach this point."

Ireland have been drawn in Pool B and will open their tournament against USA on Thursday at 2.12pm Irish time, before facing Australia (7.58am Irish time) and Scotland (1.50pm Irish time) in further pool outings on Friday.

Ireland squad: Aaron O’Sullivan (Blackrock/Leinster), Adam Leavy (Lansdowne), Billy Dardis (Terenure College)(captain), Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College), Foster Horan (Lansdowne), Greg O’Shea (Shannon), Harry McNulty (UCD), Hugo Lennox (Skerries), Jack Kelly (Dublin University), John O’Donnell (Lansdowne), Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers), Mark Roche (Lansdowne), Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College).


Thursday, 5 December: Ireland v USA, The Dubai Sevens Stadium, 2.12pm Irish time

Friday, 6 December: Ireland v Australia, The Dubai Sevens Stadium, 7.58am Irish time

Friday, 6 December: Ireland v Scotland, The Dubai Sevens Stadium, 1.50pm Irish time