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.
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