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Skurr: New Players On Learning Curve In Dubai

Skurr: New Players On Learning Curve In Dubai

Irish Women’s rugby embarks on another new journey this week when Jon Skurr’s Sevens squad competes in the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens event – the first leg of the 2013/14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.

Ireland booked their place on the World Series circuit for the first time after reaching the Cup quarter-finals at the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Moscow back in June.

The Dubai Sevens kicks off on Thursday and fans will be able to follow the fortunes of the girls in green closely as all the action from Pitch 1 in the purpose built 7he Sevens Stadium will be streamed live on wsws.irb.com.

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That means that you will be able to watch all three of Ireland’s Pool A encounters direct from Dubai, as Jon Skurr’s squad take on the USA, defending champions New Zealand and Fiji on the opening day.

The Cup quarter-finals will take place on Pitch 1 on Friday, with the Bowl and Plate play-offs going ahead on Pitch 2.

The Ireland players – a number of them new to top level Sevens rugby – prepared for Dubai with a series of weekend camps and invitational tournaments, including trips to the Netherlands and France.

Ahead of the trip to the UAE, head coach Skurr told RTÉ 2fm’s ‘Game On’ programme: “We’re really excited. Obviously a lot of hard work has gone in to get us to this point so far and we’re excited to be starting the season this week.

“It’s a new challenge for us and our main objective is to get a good start. We’d like to qualify for the main competition (in Dubai) but it’s going to be tough for us. It’s a really tough group and I don’t think any World Series group is ever going to be easy.

“It’s a big year for Irish women’s rugby, there’s a lot going on and one of our jobs is to extend the player base that we’ve got, so that we’ve got more people competing.

“There’s a small group of players who have been playing across both codes, and what we’re trying to do is expand that pool of players out, challenge at the top level and develop players which is hopefully going to have a long-term benefit to both 15s and Sevens.”

Skurr explained they are bringing ‘a very new team’ to Dubai and while admitting it will be ‘a learning curve’, he is quietly confident the fresh faces will adapt quickly and make progress throughout the campaign.

“We were unfortunate before the World Cup losing a lot of players to injury which challenged us and probably made us realise the situation we’d been in now – that we need to extend our pool of players,” he added.

“So we’ve got a number of new caps going. It’s going to be a tough start, but I feel we’re really going to progress as the season goes on as these players develop their ability to play international rugby at the top level.

“The world game is improving considerably as we go along, a lot of the teams are full-time or moving in that direction. We’ve got to develop at a faster rate so we can keep up with the changes, but also develop and progress forwards.”

Keep up to date with the squad news and latest updates from Dubai throughout the week on IrishRugby.ie. Details of the competing teams in the Men’s and Women’s events are available here.

IRB WOMEN’S SEVENS WORLD SERIES – DUBAI, UAE:

Thursday, November 28 –

IRELAND v USA, 7he Sevens Stadium, 2.06pm local time/10.06am Irish time

IRELAND v New Zealand, 7he Sevens Stadium, 4.42pm local time/12.42pm Irish time

IRELAND v Fiji, 7he Sevens Stadium, 7.40pm local time/3.40pm Irish time

Friday, November 29 –

Cup, Bowl and Plate competitions (11.40am-9.16pm local time/7.40am-5.16pm Irish time)

Related Links –

Women’s Sevens World Series – Dubai

Brazil Beckons For Ireland Women’s Sevens