Ireland have been knocked out of the Plate competition at the Rugby World Cup Sevens, going down 22-0 to a strong England outfit at Gorodok Stadium.
WOMEN’S RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS – PLATE SEMI-FINAL: Sunday, June 30
ENGLAND 22 IRELAND 0, Gorodok Stadium, Moscow
Scorers: England: Tries: Kat Merchant, Katy Mclean, Joanne Watmore, Alice Richardson; Con: Katy Mclean
Ireland’s two defeats on day two in Moscow have come against teams who are considerably further down the line in terms of their Sevens development and their experience of elite level Sevens tournaments.
But the girls in green will be meeting the likes of the USA and England more regularly as one of the core teams in the 2013/14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.
The top eight finish for Jon Skurr’s side in the Russian capital has guaranteed them a place in next season’s World Series, which is another significant step in their journey towards qualifying for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
Tiredness did creep into Ireland’s play in their fifth outing of the tournament, the Plate semi-final which saw them come up against familiar opponents in England.
The English won the Plate title at the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai and found it tough to get through the well-organised Irish defence until Emily Scarratt sent Kat Merchant over on the right after four-and-a-half minutes.
Katy Mclean missed the conversion, but added the extras to her own try as Ireland were outrun in the closing stages of the first half and fell 12-0 behind.
Ireland were not without their chances and Ashleigh Baxter went close on the resumption, with Michaela Staniford coming to England’s rescue.
Ireland remained gritty in defence and threatening on the counter, but England wrapped up the victory when Fran Matthews passed for fellow substitute Joanne Watmore to dot down in the corner.
They added another unconverted effort in the dying seconds through Alice Richardson, with England’s strength in depth helping them to pull away in the end.
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TIME LINE: 5 minutes – England try: Kat Merchant – 5-0; conversion: missed by Katy Mclean – 5-0; 6 mins – England try: Katy Mclean – 10-0; conversion: Katy Mclean – 12-0; Half-time – England 12 Ireland 0; 13 mins – England try: Joanne Watmore – 17-0; conversion: missed by Alice Richardson – 17-0; 14+1 mins – England try: Alice Richardson – 22-0; conversion: missed by Alice Richardson – 22-0; Full-time – England 22 Ireland 0
ENGLAND: Claire Allan, Kat Merchant, Natasha Hunt, Katy Mclean, Emily Scarratt, Marlie Packer, Michaela Staniford.
Subs: Heather Fisher, Rachael Burford, Fran Matthews, Alice Richardson, Joanne Watmore.
IRELAND: Claire Molloy, Sophie Spence, Lynne Cantwell, Alison Miller, Shannon Houston, Amy Davis, Ashleigh Baxter.
Subs: Jenny Murphy, Jeannette Feighery, Larissa Muldoon, Laura O’Mahony, Nikki Caughey.
Referee: Chelsea Gurr (New Zealand)