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Ireland Women Dominate European Sevens Qualifier

Ireland Women Dominate European Sevens Qualifier

The Ireland Women’s Sevens squad took a major step on the road to qualification for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens with a dominant performance at the European Championship qualifying tournament in Ghent over the weekend.

New to the Sevens scene and playing against several higher ranked countries, the Irish girls won the title without conceding a point in six games.

The tournament was the first round qualifier for the Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow next year and the team needed to finish in the top two to progress to the final qualifying tournament in Moscow at the beginning of July.

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The Ireland Women topped their group having had comprehensive wins over Czech Republic, Belgium, Poland and Israel in the pool games. Having defeated Georgia 51-0, they then progressed to meet Scotland in the final.

Mission 1 at this point was accomplished with both teams qualifying for the final qualifying tournament in Moscow, however, the ladies were determined to finish strong and maintain their unbeaten status at the Ghent event.

The final proved to be an exciting game and the girls in green certainly had the support of the home crowd.

Captain Claire Molloy who had been impressive throughout the tournament, opened the scoring in the second minute having received an offload from Joy Neville after a scintillating burst through the centre of Scottish defence by Jenny Murphy.

The Scottish retained possession for the next number of minutes, however Ireland turned the ball over at the breakdown and Jeannette Feighery, having shown a dummy, made a break down the blindside from the halfway line to score in the corner.

Ireland showed great line speed and continued to pressurise the Scots when they had possession but were strong in attack when they had ball in hand. Two tries from Alison Miller saw Ireland go into the second half with a 22-0 advantage.

The Irish girls resumed with great determination and continued to be dominant at the breakdown. The bench was emptied minutes into the second half and the substitutes made an immediate impact.

Ashleigh Baxter made a massive tackle and turned over the ball, resulting in Sophie Spence powering through the Scottish defence and crashing over the line to make the score 29-0 with Claire Keohane successfully converting the try.

Speaking about the tournament, head coach Jon Skurr said: “I am extremely happy with the girls’ performance here this weekend.

“We set ourselves a goal at the beginning of this programme to qualify for Moscow and recently set ourselves a target of winning this tournament which we have been successful in.

“The determination, commitment and skill level of the players must be commended and to go through a tournament with no points conceded is very impressive. We’ll now look forward to Moscow and hopefully continue with the success that the ladies have achieved so far.”

The team scored an impressive 249 points in the Ghent tournament and conceded none which is something that skipper Molloy was very pleased with.

“Our defence has been an area that we have worked very hard on over the last number of weeks at training and it is great to come away from the tournament with a clean sheet,” she said.

“I am very proud of how we played as a team over the weekend and look forward to taking it to the next level in Moscow next month.”

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Results (FIRA/AER European Qualifying Tournament, Ghent):

Pool B –

Ireland 40 Czech Republic 0

Belgium 0 Ireland 31

Poland 0 Ireland 43

Israel 0 Ireland 55


Georgia 0 Ireland 51


Ireland 29 Scotland 0