Ruck and Roll: Olympic Dream Comes True for McNulty

4 months ago

Giltinis flanker Harry McNulty (above) is a clean skin but the magnitude of winning a place at the Tokyo Olympics with Ireland has led to a rethink of his tattoo policy.

McNulty will fly from Dublin to Tokyo this weekend with Ireland’s rugby sevens team with some serious giant-killing on his mind.

Ireland’s thrilling qualification in Monaco has given McNulty confidence that his team can rattle South Africa, the USA and Kenya in Pool C on July 26-27.

The timing has him excited that he can also make the rushed dash back to Los Angeles in time for the August 1 Championship Final which the Giltinis are focussed on reaching.

“It’s very exciting to think of getting on a plane for the Olympics when it was just a dream for so many years,” McNulty said from Dublin.

“The Giltinis’ boys will get a laugh out of our heat preparations because Dublin doesn’t exactly have the temperatures of LA or Tokyo.

“We’re heading into 30-degree heat and 80 per cent humidity in Tokyo so we’re having hot baths, putting on layers of clothing for training and turning up the heat inside the gym to get a sweat up.”

McNulty said hooker brother Sean had kept him up to speed with Giltinis’ news.

“It’s tough looking on from afar but the boys have really stuck together through some difficult games to clinch top spot in the Western Conference for the play-offs,” McNulty said.

And about that tattoo?

“I have no tatts currently but I’m thinking the right ribs have a spot for an Olympic rings’ tattoo,” McNulty said proudly.

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COLEMAN IN PLAY-OFFS MODE

Head coach Darren Coleman was delighted with the second half comeback to complete last weekend’s 31-17 win over the Austin Gilgronis.

“The biggest highlight for me was our resilience and toughness in the defensive zone in that second half which is a good sign for the play-offs coming up,” Coleman said.

“They had six entries for no points in the second half and we had two entries for two tries in the same period.

“We just have to get the team as urgent on ‘D’ in other areas of the field.

“That match felt like a play-off game because the Gilgronis were playing for their season.”

Coleman was especially pleased with Irish backrower Sean O’Brien stepping up by topping the tackle count and cleanouts in his 80-minute display.

Unfortunately, regular No.8 Adam Ashe is done for the season. Scans have revealed the productive Scotsman ruptured his bicep and is headed for surgery.

The Giltinis are preparing for Saturday’s road game against the Utah Warriors which will be an invaluable sighting because the clubs will meet again in the play-offs at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum a week later.

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STAT ATTACK

(vs Austin Gilgronis)

Ball carries: DTH van der Merwe 10, Sean O’Brien 9, Billy Meakes 7, Luke White 7

Running Metres: DTH van der Merwe 115, Harrison Goddard 62, Billy Meakes 53, Adam Ashley-Cooper 50

Tackles: Sean O’Brien 16, Luke White 16, Billy Meakes 15

Tackle Busts: Harrison Goddard 4, JP Smith 2, DTH van der Merwe 2

Line Breaks: Mahe Vailanu 1, Seru Vularika 1, Harrison Goddard 1, Billy Meakes 1

Ruck/Maul arrivals: Nathan Den Hoedt 23, Mahe Vailanu 20, Sean O’Brien 19, Charlie Abel 19,

Try-scoring (season): Angus Cottrell 11, DTH van der Merwe 10

Courtesy: Stats Perform

MEDICAL ROOM

Lindsey Stevens – Hooker (knee – season-ending)

Adam Ashe- Backrower (bicep – season-ending)

Marco Fepulea’i – Prop (head knock)

Watson Filikitonga – Centre (foot)

Jeff Peleseuma – Five-eighth (foot)

The LA Giltinis face the Utah Warriors on the road at Zions Bank Stadium on Saturday from 5pm (PT) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The match will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network in USA and can also be viewed live on The Rugby Network internationally.

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