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Home / News / Keenan set for Olympic Sevens switch with Ireland

Keenan set for Olympic Sevens switch with Ireland


Hugo Keenan is set to miss Ireland’s upcoming tour of South Africa, with the Leinster full-back to join up with the Ireland Sevens programme ahead of the Olympic Games in Paris.

The 27-year-old’s return to the Ireland Sevens set-up was first reported by the42.ie, while RTÉ Sport understands Keenan will be included in James Topping’s squad for next week’s leg of the World SVNS Series in Madrid, provided he comes through Saturday’s Investec Champions Cup final against Toulouse without injury.

Keenan spent two years playing in the Ireland Sevens programme from 2017 to 2019 before making a breakthrough with Leinster and the Irish XV’s team, and has gone on to earn 39 caps, establishing himself as first choice 15 for both province and country.

In November, Topping confirmed he had spoken to IRFU performance director David Nucifora around the possibility of players from the XV’s programme joining the Sevens squad ahead of the Paris games, while Leinster boss Leo Cullen said they would be open-minded around making players available.

The Olympic Sevens tournament takes place at Stade de France in Paris from 24-27 July, which likely see see Keenan miss out Ireland’s Test series in South Africa earlier that month.

RTÉ Sport understands that Keenan is expected to be involved with the Ireland Sevens squad as of next week for their competition in Madrid, as well as the Rugby Europe 7s Championship in Croatia on the weekend of 7-9 June, but he could return to Leinster for a BKT United Rugby Championship semi-final and/or final, should the province advance that far.

France captain Antoine Dupont made headlines in November when it was announced that he would be switching to the shorter format of the game for their home Olympics in Paris, while former Wallabies captain Michael Hooper is also attempting to make Australia’s Sevens squad.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport in November, Keenan was coy when asked if he would be interested in following Dupont’s lead, but the full-back will now get an opportunity to challenge for an Olympic medal.

“No, like, it would be very cool to do,” he said. “I obviously loved my time with the Sevens, I did two and half, three years with them.

“It’s exciting for Dupont and the lads to do it but I’m back with Leinster. My big target this year is that European Cup and yeah, I’m just focusing on that.”

Having secured qualification for the Paris Games last summer, Ireland are currently second in the World SVNS Series standings, ahead of next week’s final leg of the tour in Spain.

Both the IRFU and Leinster Rugby would not comment on the reports at this stage.

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Watch Leinster v Toulouse in the Investec Champions Cup final on Saturday from 2pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, follow a live blog on rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app and listen to commentary on Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1


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