Tokyo Olympics: player background led to success – Irish captain Dardis
Billy Dardis said his Irish teammates used “a lot of courage and determination” to reach the first Olympics this summer.
Many members of the Irish team were dismissed from the provincial academies before being selected for the Sevens program.
“Our origins shape us and this is something we can be really proud of for the rest of our lives,” said Dardis.
Irish captain Dardis, 26, was on the books for Leinster to be released in 2017. The majority of the Irish squad suffered the same fate, including Greg O’Shea, who spent four seasons at Munster before he rose to fame. with Love Island in 2019..
However, the Sevens program, set up by the Irish RFU in 2014, has given released players a second life and, subsequently, a place in the history books.
Dardis said leaving Leinster was after “a difficult conversation” but “everything happens for a reason”.
“Everyone came from the weirdest circles and went through so much. The hardships are part of it and a lot of us went through this academy system and dreamed of playing for Ireland,” he said. added.
“We’ve all gone through this devastation of being let go, but it gives us a lot of courage and determination. There’s a little chip on our shoulders, which can be a negative thing but we channel it pretty well.
“We want to win every little bit and that is also imposed on us by our coaches. Ant [Head coach Anthony Eddy] put this group together, took this average group of hard working guys and turned us into Olympians.
“It’s life changing and I don’t think it’s really going to go down. I told the players that we will be sitting at 60 in a pub and people will be like, ‘this guy is an Olympian’. something you have for life. “
Ireland “will compete”
Despite this being their first Olympics, Dardis says Ireland must believe they can win a medal and “won’t go out there to catch up.”
“They are the best Sevens teams in the world and we will go there to compete,” he added.
“This competition has prepared us well enough for that. The teams won’t have felt the tournament under pressure like this in two years, so that gives us all the advantages.
“Let’s go try and get a medal. You think it’s special, imagine if we got a medal. It’s ultimately, right now, it’s about relaxing, enjoying the company of. the other and let it soak in. “
Dardis added that he hopes Ireland’s qualification for the Games will encourage children to play sports this summer.
“It will add real value to the sport in Ireland and it will show that anyone can make it to the Olympics and make their dreams come true,” he said.
“I hope a lot of kids learn about rugby, any sport, but I hope we have inspired a lot of people this weekend.”