June 21 (Reuters) - The Irish men’s rugby sevens team secured their maiden Olympic berth after beating France 28-19 in the final qualifier on Sunday.
Terry Kennedy’s try gave Ireland an early lead before scores from Stephen Perez and Paulin Riva put France ahead.
Ireland responded through Jordan Conroy, who scored a pair of second-half tries, while Harry McNulty added a fourth as they booked their ticket for July 26-28 men’s sevens competition at the Tokyo Games.
“It’s just bizarre,” Ireland captain Billy Dardis said. “I thought we were out of it for a while in the first half when they had so much possession and then we got a few lucky bounces.
“That’s sevens. The bounce of the ball goes your way and to end up in the Olympics like that is just incredible.”
In the women’s final qualifiers, Russia beat Kazakhstan 38-0 to seal their first Olympic spot while France thrashed Hong Kong 51-0 to secure the remaining berth.
Teams that have qualified for men’s sevens rugby at Tokyo: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Fiji, Britain, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, New Zealand, South Africa, United States
Teams that have qualified for women’s sevens rugby at Tokyo: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Fiji, France, Britain, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Russia, United States (Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford )