The injury-enforced absence of captain Shannon Houston was keenly felt as the Ireland Women finished 11th in the Brive leg of the FIRA/AER European Women's Sevens Grand Prix Series over the weekend.
Combined with their efforts in Moscow last week, it meant that the Jon Skurr-coached Ireland squad were ranked eighth of the 12 competing teams at the end of the European Grand Prix Series.
The girls in green entered the back-to-back legs hoping to book a place in the Women's Sevens World Series requalification event in September, but results proved hard to come by and it is France and the Netherlands who will strive for World Series promotion in three months' time.
France, the Brive winners, and the Dutch side advance as Russia - European champions courtesy of two runners-up finishes - and England are already core teams on the World Series circuit.
The final placings in the European Grand Prix Series were: 1. Russia, 2. France, 3. England, 4. Netherlands, 5. Spain, 6. Portugal, 7. Italy, 8. Ireland, 9. Wales, 10. Germany, 11. Belgium, 12. Sweden.
It leaves Ireland relying on a wildcard entry to further their ambitions, with Skurr explaining that 'we now have to wait to see who will get the wildcard places'.
Reflecting on the last two weeks of competition, the Irish coach said: "We are disappointed by the results in Brive and Moscow and finishing eighth overall was below our expected level of performance.
"That said, we always have to remember that a large chunk of the squad has only been playing rugby for six months and this was always going to be a tough ask.
"Losing Shannon (Houston), our captain and most experienced player, the day before the tournament was a big blow to the squad. But Nicole Cronin, who took over the captaincy, did a great job and had a good tournament."
Ireland ended a four-match losing run in Brive by beating Sweden 19-7 in the 11th/12th place play-off on Sunday. They overturned a 7-0 deficit with stand-in skipper Cronin (2), who played with a bandaged left hand, and Martina McCarthy scoring the tries.
Earlier in the day they lost their Bowl semi-final to Wales, going down 22-0 despite the best efforts of Claire Keohane, Laura Lee Walsh and McCarthy amongst others.
Robbie Henshaw's all-important try against England saw him become one of the youngest Ireland try scorers in RBS 6 Nations history. In fact, he is the fifth youngest behind some very talented current and former backs.
Ireland hold a two-point lead at the top of the RBS 6 Nations table heading into the final two rounds. Check out our extended photo gallery from last Sunday's 19-9 win over England at the Aviva Stadium.
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne and Ireland Women's out-half and IRFU Women's & Girls Rugby Development Executive Nora Stapleton talk about the Irish bid to host the next Women's Rugby World Cup in 2017.
Looking forward to facing England on Sunday, Ireland winger Tommy Bowe said: "We've trained very well this week, we're really excited about the game. It's about going out there and doing whatever we can to get ourselves that win."
Second row Devin Toner previews Ireland's crunch RBS 6 Nations clash with England, saying: "It's a pretty formidable English pack. Attwood and Kruis have played fantastically well. They're well drilled and focused and their scrum and lineout are very good."
Looking forward to facing England this weekend, Ireland back rower Sean O'Brien said: "It's obviously exciting, but it's one game at a time. I don't think there's any more pressure on us than in the first two games. That's the way you have to look at it."
Irish Rugby TV sat down with Ireland Under-20 scrum coach John Fogarty to talk about the U-20 Six Nations so far and Friday's clash with England at Donnybrook. Tickets are on sale on www.ticketmaster.ie.
Ireland Under-20 captain Nick McCarthy and fellow back Billy Dardis spoke to Irish Rugby TV about Friday's U-20 Six Nations showdown with England at Donnybrook. Tickets available on www.ticketmaster.ie.
Shane Byrne and Malcolm O'Kelly preview the Ireland v England Legends match which takes place at Donnybrook this coming Saturday (kick-off 7.30pm). Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ie. All proceeds from the game will go to support the IRFU Charitable Trust and the RFU All Schools Charity.
Watch highlights from the Ireland team announcement press conference as Joe Schmidt reveals the team to play France. Peter O'Mahony says it is good to 'have some big figures back' for Saturday's clash.