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Ireland Women Aim For Improved Finish

Ireland Women Aim For Improved Finish

After suffering a hat-trick of defeats in the pool stages, the Ireland Women will be aiming to bounce back with their best ever series finish during the concluding day of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series event in Guangzhou.

The China tournament wraps up on Sunday at the University Town Stadium, with Ireland competing for the 9th-12th rankings.

Jon Skurr’s squad have posted 11th, 12th and 11th place finishes respectively in the Dubai, Atlanta and São Paulo legs so far and are fiercely determined to avenge a run of recent defeats to Brazil.

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The Brazilians will provide the opposition for the girls in green in Sunday’s Bowl semi-final in Guangzhou (kick-off 11.28am local time/4.28am Irish time) – live streaming here.

The sides met as recently as last weekend when Brazil won a 7th-8th place play-off by a 20-7 margin at the Hong Kong Sevens.

Skurr’s charges were also beaten by the South Americans in Atlanta (20-5) and São Paulo (30-0).

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s rematch, the Irish head coach said: “We go into day 2 still with the opportunity to register our best finishing position of the season.

“A tough game against Brazil will give us the opportunity to improve on our 11th place finish in São Paulo.

“Brazil will exert lots of pressure in defence, disrupt the breakdown and move the ball well. It is important that we retain the ball and build phases of play and then make our one-on-one tackles. If we can do this then we will get a positive result.”

Ireland had a difficult start to the pool stages as they leaked eight tries in a 50-0 loss to high-flying Australia, who are the joint series leaders at present.

They picked themselves up for a tremendous comeback effort against England, coming from 21-0 behind with 19 points unanswered points – including tries from Nikki Caughey, captain Shannon Houston and series debutant Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

However, a strong Fijian outfit proved too strong in their final pool match with another of Ireland’s newcomers, Martina McCarthy, claiming their only try in a 36-7 reversal.

“Today was a very mixed day. We got taught a lessons in Sevens by the Aussies. Sevens is about momentum and when you haven’t got it you need experience to change the game and get the momentum back,” reflected Skurr.

“The players were rightly disappointed by the result against Australia, but they showed great fighting spirit to come back against a very experienced English team.

“We started to show signs of the ability that we know we have and started to string together some good phases of play that allowed us to keep the momentum against a good English team.

“It was good to see Amee-Leigh get on the scoresheet with a well-worked try which showed her speed.

“In the final game against Fiji we stood off them and let them play and failed to complete our individual skills and suffered because of it. But again, we showed glimpses of the potential with a well-taken try by former Olympian Martina McCarthy.”

Click here for a full recap of Ireland’s pool games in Guangzhou.

China Sevens: Day 1 Video Highlights