There are three IRB Women’s Sevens World Series debutants in the Ireland squad selected by head coach Jon Skurr for the Guangzhou Sevens tournament in China.
Martina McCarthy, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Katie Fitzhenry will get their first taste of the Sevens World series at the fourth leg in Guangzhou this Saturday and Sunday.
The trio were brought in by Jon Skurr for the warm-up tournament in Hong Kong last weekend where Ireland finished eighth overall.
The Guangzhou Sevens takes place at the University Town Stadium, and the girls in green will be looking to improve on their rankings from the previous rounds – Dubai (11th), Atlanta (12th) and São Paulo (11th).
Skurr’s charges will face the São Paulo champions and joint series leaders Australia in their opening game in Guangzhou.
The other teams in Pool B are England and Fiji, both familiar opponents for the Irish from earlier in the campaign.
Ireland will have two key players back on board who impressed during February’s tournaments in Atlanta and São Paulo – Munster duo Claire Keohane and Nicole Cronin.
Speaking after the Hong Kong Sevens, Skurr said: “We will be stronger in China with (vice-captain) Claire and (influential scrum half) Nicole returning to the squad – both had been rested to allow them to recover from minor strains.
“Our consistency of application will improve with experience and the new caps – Katie, Martina and Amee-Leigh – will add value to the squad.
“The quality of the teams in China is higher than here in Hong Kong and we need to continue to raise our game to meet the challenge of the World Series.”
All the action from the fourth round of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Guangzhou will be streamed live on wsws.irb.com from 10am local time/3am Irish time on Saturday.
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (Guangzhou Sevens, University Town Stadium, Guangzhou, China, April 5-6):
1. Shannon Houston (Blackrock/Leinster) (capt)
2. Martina McCarthy (St. Mary’s/Talent ID Programme)
3. Niamh Ni Dhroma (Buccaneers/Connacht)
4. Nicole Cronin (Shannon/Munster)
5. Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
6. Megan Williams (Saracens/Exiles)
7. Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Clanwilliam/Munster/Talent ID Programme)
8. Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
9. Nikki Caughey (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
10. Siobhan Barrett (Tralee/Munster)
11. Laura Lee Walsh (Talent ID Programme)
12. Susan Vaughan (Railway Union/Leinster)
Saturday, April 5 –
Australia v IRELAND, University Town Stadium, 11.28am local time/4.28am Irish time
IRELAND v England, University Town Stadium, 2.34pm local time/7.34am Irish time
IRELAND v Fiji, University Town Stadium, 5.18pm local time/10.18am Irish time
Sunday, April 6 –
Cup, Bowl and Plate competitions (10am-5.12pm local time/3am-10am Irish time)
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