Ireland’s Sean McNulty says the prospect of playing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gets his adrenaline pumping as his team gear up for the European qualifiers in Colomiers, France this weekend.
McNulty, who was with the team during the 2016 Olympic qualifiers held in Monaco, acknowledges how much they have grown as a squad in terms of experience over the past four years.
The 26-year-old Irishman is confident that Ireland have a shot at qualifying for the Olympics, their confidence boosted by qualifying for next season’s HSBC World Sevens Series.
The42 quoted McNulty as saying: “It’s huge. Very, very exciting. I think about it and I start sweating, the adrenaline’s going heart’s beating and I need to take a time-out for a minute. Because the thought of it is pretty incredible.
“To finally get on [the world series] was so huge and it just took up everything in your mind-set – that’s all you thought about. It’s only the last two, three weeks that the actual realisation hits you: ‘hold on a minute, the opportunity here to go to the Olympics is a complete reality.’
“Four years ago when we tried to go in Monaco it was different, we’d only been training for two years, we hadn’t been playing in the grand prix, playing good teams all the time.
“To be at the level we’re at now, with the players we have now and the performances we put in, there’s serious, serious shot at winning. We’re going there to win.”
Going into the tournament as second seeds the Anthony Eddy-coached side are likely to go against top-seeded France for the sole qualification spot.
If they finish second or third all will not be lost as they will have another opportunity to attempt qualification at next year’s World Rugby repecharge.
In Pool B, Ireland face Spain, Russia and Ukraine.