Less than three weeks before they compete at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, the in-form Ireland men's sevens team cruised to a 49-7 Cup final win over Germany in Marcoussis to make it back-to-back titles in the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series.
As they did in winning the opening tournament of the series in Moscow last month, Ireland went through the second leg at France's Centre National de Rugby unbeaten to make it 12 wins from 12 at the halfway point of the Grand Prix Series.
It is a result that further enhances Ireland’s reputation as one of the most dangerous up-and-coming teams on the world circuit and one that will not have gone unnoticed by Chile, their opening opponents at RWC Sevens 2018, or indeed reigning HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions South Africa, who they are due to play in the round of 16 in San Francisco if they get past Los Condores Sevens.
Ireland qualified for the Cup knockout rounds with routine victories over Poland (52-0) and Spain (40-0) before seeing off England 21-14 in a match that decided the winners of Pool A. Germany and France also enjoyed a clean sweep of victories to top Pools B and C.
While England ended France’s Cup hopes at the quarter-final stage, Ireland survived a scare from Portugal to progress to the last four. Germany and Russia also made the semi-finals thanks to their respective victories over Italy (24-0) and Wales (26-14).
Russia were no match for ruthless Ireland in the first of the semi-finals with the men in green running in five converted tries to win 35-0, and Germany ensured there would be a repeat of the Moscow final after a last-minute try handed them a 12-10 win over eventual bronze medallists England.
In the final, Ireland raced into a 28-0 half-time lead before two further tries at the start of the second half put them within reach of the half-century mark. Germany finally got off the mark with little over a minute remaining but there was still time for Adam Leavy to become the seventh different try-scorer for the Irish.
Ireland's efforts in the Marcoussis sunshine have moved them onto 40 points in the overall series standings, four clear of Germany, their closest challengers so far, followed by Russia and England on 26 each, and Italy and France on 24 each.
The team with the most points after the four legs - the penultimate leg is in Exeter this coming weekend with the concluding tournament in Poland in early September - will be crowned overall European champions, while the top three eligible finishers will advance to next year's World Series qualifying tournament in Hong Kong.
France were popular winners of the standalone Women’s Grand Prix Series event after a 19-12 victory over Russia saw them go through the two days of competition with a perfect 6-0 win/loss record.
Baziat Khamidova scored two tries for Russia, but with Carla Neisen and Marjorie Mayans among France's try-scorers they made sure of victory on home soil.
Ireland’s women joined the men on the podium after winning the bronze medal at England’s expense, the emphatic 39-7 victory an important confidence booster for the Irish before the sides meet again on day one of RWC Sevens 2018.