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Molloy Pleased With Sevens Progress

Molloy Pleased With Sevens Progress

Claire Molloy has finally found time to draw breath after a hectic few weeks – winning a Grand Slam with Ireland, completing her medical exams and then helping Ireland to some big wins at the IRB Women’s Sevens Series event in Guangzhou, China.

Claire Molloy barely got time to savour the historic Grand Slam and she missed out on the Sevens team’s Bowl final in Hong Kong as she was completing her medical studies.

But she was back wearing the captain’s armband in China – Jeannette Feighery was an excellent deputy in Hong Kong the previous week –  to help the Ireland Women’s Sevens side pick up the Plate title as they continue their preparations for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in June.

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On their way to the Plate success, the girls in green overcame stiff opposition, including Australia and then the Netherlands in the final, and captain Molloy praised the team effort shown by the entire squad.

“I think it was just an amazing performance from the girls to lift it, everyone in the squad. At times we could have been wheeled off the pitch, but we fought tooth and nail for that victory and I’m just delighted to come away with the win,” she said.

The Plate was secured with a tense victory against a Dutch side who had beaten the Irish 31-7 in last summer’s European Championship and the win shows just how much the team have improved.

“We’d encountered the Dutch before in the Plate final in the Euros and we were disappointed with our performance, we got a bit of a hiding so I think it was just an amazing performance from the girls to lift it.

“It’s our first IRB Sevens series so it’s a big marker for ourselves and we couldn’t ask for a better result in our first tournament. And having had so few weekends together we can only hope to build from this and go forward to Moscow (in June).”

Eight of the Irish side that won the Grand Slam were involved in China and Molloy was quick to acknowledge the importance of the coaching staff in keeping the players fresh.

“I think the support of our management, physio and everyone that has got us through that really busy schedule has been great. We’ve got a fantastic backroom team both in the fifteen-a-side game and Sevens and they just look after us.

“The amount of effort that’s gone in that we don’t even see is just amazing and that’s why we’re here – it is because it’s a complete team effort.”

With the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow coming up in June and the prospect of the Olympics in 2016, Molloy is encouraged with the progress the Sevens squad have made in recent weeks.

“I think we’ve learned a bit of Sevens smart, we were definitely a bit ‘fifteensy’ in our first few games. It’s just knowing when to slow it down, take your chances and when to go for touch,” she added.

“The other teams had experience from playing in the other Series events in Houston and Dubai that we were just lacking, it was important to get a bit more game awareness.

“It was just a massive learning curve for us from game one to game six, so we can take that forward. We’ve still got loads and loads to build on really coming up to Moscow.”

And with World Cup pool opponents Australia defeated in the Plate semi-finals in China, there is no reason why the girls in green cannot add to their trophy collection again in June.

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