Ireland head to Lithuania this weekend for the Europe U18 Men's Sevens Championship hoping to claim a hat-trick of titles and a place at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games in October.
Sixteen teams will compete at the European Youth Olympic Games qualification tournament, spread across four pools.
Ireland are top seeds after winning the title for the second year in a row last September in Heidelberg, Germany. Captained by Ronan Quinn, they are drawn in Pool A along with Italy, Russia and Sweden.
“It's a really exciting tournament for the players, with the opportunity to not only claim a third Championship, but also a place at the Youth Olympics in Argentina,” said coach Simon Broughton.
“The players were in camp together last weekend, and while they have had limited time together, they are a talented group and I've no doubt they will grow and improve as the tournament progresses.”
Having won the girls’ tournament on home soil in Vichy last week, France will be hoping to double up. But first, they need to successfully come through Pool B fixtures against Romania, Germany and Ukraine.
Great Britain will face Georgia, Belgium and hosts Lithuania in Pool C on day one. Seven of the squad are from England, three from Wales and two from Scotland.
“It was extremely difficult to pick 12 players from the group of 24 but we’re really excited by the squad that will represent U18 Team GB in Lithuania with the aim of securing a place at the Youth Olympics,” said coach Russell Earnshaw.
“We’re really pleased with the way that these players came together at the selection camp and are looking forward to seeing how they perform against some very talented European teams.
“This is a unique opportunity for the squad which will provide them with many great learning experiences as they continue to keep learning and developing as players.”
Neighbours Portugal and Spain are paired together in Pool D with Poland and Luxembourg for company.
Rugby Europe will stream the U18 Men's Sevens Championship games live from Panevezys this weekend at www.rugbyeurope.tv.
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