Ireland’s Rugby Sevens campaign at the Tokyo Olympics came to a disappointing end on Wednesday morning, the side comprehensively outclassed by Kenya during a 22-0 loss. The game was a play-off for ninth place, with both teams failing to reach the knockout stages from their group.
“That game showed really what we were like through the whole tournament,” said Hugo Lennox.
“We were lacking a bit of grit and we never really got going. The Olympics is probably the biggest tournament we’re ever going to play in. We’re embarrassed to be honest.”
The Irish left themselves with a huge hill to climb during the group stages with losses to South Africa and USA, and while they recovered to beat Kenya 12-7, their points difference wasn’t good enough to be one of the best-ranked third-place finishers.
They outclassed South Korea on Tuesday night to advance to the ninth-placed play-off against Kenya where they were no match for their rivals and finished the tournament in 10th.
“It’s a poor result but you have to be grateful and honoured to be here,” said Lennox. “If you had told us 12 months ago we’d be going to the Olympics we would have said that would be a really big ask. France were a big force on the World Series at the time and it was incredible to turn them over on their own patch.” Bryan Mollen believed the outlook bright for the team after a breakthrough year.
“We want to show what we can do,” he said. “We’ve done that in the World Series but we haven’t done it here. We want to build towards the World Cup in South Africa. Like the Olympics, it only comes around every four years.”