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Ireland Reach Cup Quarter-Finals In China

Ireland Reach Cup Quarter-Finals In China

The Ireland Women’s squad have qualified for the Cup quarter-finals at the Guangzhou Sevens tournament in China, adding another landmark achievement to this ‘season of firsts’ for the girls in green.

This is Ireland’s debut appearance at an IRB Women’s Sevens World Series event and they finished the pool stages with a superb 33-0 win over Japan to progress to the Cup quarter-finals where they will face New Zealand tomorrow.

Jon Skurr’s Irish side lost their opening game in Pool B, going down 33-5 to a highly-regarded Canada team, the eventual pool winners, in wet conditions in Guangzhou.

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Lynne Cantwell broke through for a fifth minute try in reply to a Ghislaine Landry converted effort, but the Canadians charged clear on the scoreboard thanks to touchdowns from Ashley Steacy (2), Elissa Alarie and Kelly Russell.

It was a tough start for Ireland, the Bowl winners at last week’s Hong Kong Sevens, but it was a sign that they needed to lift their collective efforts and they did just that against Australia, the reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens champions whom they will face at June’s World Cup in Moscow.

The Australians showed their quality with first half tries from Nikki Etheridge and Sharni Williams during a heavy rain shower.

But Jenny Murphy, one of the recent 15-a-side Grand Slam winners, sped through for a try just after the restart with Claire Keohane supplying the conversion.

Ireland pressed for a second try, hammering away at the Australian defence but they were unable to cross the whitewash again and the team that are second currently in the Women’s Sevens World Series prevailed on a 12-7 scoreline.

That left Skurr’s charges needing a good-sized victory in their final match of the day against Japan in order to secure a top eight ranking and one of the Cup quarter-final places.

Buoyed by their display against Australia, Ireland cut loose against the Japanese with Alison Miller claiming the opening try as she kept up her fine scoring form from the Six Nations.

Keohane converted it and there were further tries before the break from Murphy and captain Claire Molloy, who ran in an intercept effort, with Cantwell increasing her influence in open play.

Miller completed her hat-trick in the second period with Keohane converting four of the five tries as Ireland made it through to the Cup quarter-finals with plenty to spare.

Molloy and her team-mates face a last-eight date with Sevens World Series leaders New Zealand, who scored 102 points and conceded only five on the way to topping Pool A today with three wins.

That match takes place at 10am China time/3am Irish time on Easter Sunday, with a live stream being provided by the tournament organisers.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2013 Guangzhou Sevens, Saturday, March 30-Sunday, March 31):

Christine Arthurs (Tralee/Connacht)
Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) *
Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exile) *
Amy Davis (Blackrock College/Ulster) *
Jeannette Feighery (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Ashling Hutchings (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht) *
Claire Molloy (Bristol/Exile) (capt) *
Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
Sophie Spence (Mowden Sharks/Exile) *

* Players involved in RBS 6 Nations Championship

Ireland Match Schedule at Guangzhou Sevens –

Saturday – Pool B

Canada 33 Ireland 5, Guangzhou University Town Stadium

Ireland Scorers: Try: Lynne Cantwell

IRELAND: Jenny Murphy, Claire Molloy (capt), Sophie Spence, Jeannette Feighery, Claire Keohane, Lynne Cantwell, Alison Miller.

Subs: Christine Arthurs, Amy Davis, Ashleigh Baxter, Niamh Kavanagh, Ashling Hutchings.

Australia 12 Ireland 7, Guangzhou University Town Stadium

Ireland Scorers: Try: Jenny Murphy; Con: Claire Keohane

IRELAND: Jenny Murphy, Claire Molloy (capt), Jeannette Feighery, Lynne Cantwell, Alison Miller, Ashleigh Baxter, Niamh Kavanagh.

Subs: Sophie Spence, Claire Keohane, Christine Arthurs, Amy Davis, Ashling Hutchings.

Japan 0 Ireland 33, Guangzhou University Town Stadium

Ireland Scorers: Tries: Alison Miller 3, Jenny Murphy, Claire Molloy; Cons: Claire Keohane 4

IRELAND: Jenny Murphy, Claire Molloy (capt), Sophie Spence, Jeannette Feighery, Claire Keohane, Lynne Cantwell, Alison Miller.

Subs: Christine Arthurs, Amy Davis, Ashleigh Baxter, Niamh Kavanagh, Ashling Hutchings.

Sunday – Play-Offs

Cup Quarter-Final: Ireland v New Zealand, Guangzhou University Town Stadium, 10am local time/3am Irish time

Related Links –

2013 Guangzhou Sevens Website

Ireland Women At The Hong Kong Sevens

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