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Ireland Women’s Sevens: Dubai Day 1 Round-Up

Ireland Women’s Sevens: Dubai Day 1 Round-Up

Ireland started the first leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series with an encouraging win over USA and performed well in their subsequent pool matches, despite losing to the experienced Canada and Fiji teams, to finish third in their pool.

The Ireland Women got the day off to a strong start against the USA, with Audrey O’Flynn sucking in the American defenders with her strong running. That allowed Ireland to exploit the space out wide which gave Alison Miller the opportunity to get over for an unconverted try in the second minute.
 
Ireland continued to look to attack the USA down the middle, but the Americans kept them at bay until half-time. The girls in green attacked from deep early on the restart and a ruck infringement saw the USA’s Alev Kelter sin-binned.
 
Louise Galvin then showed fantastic footwork and pace to slice through the American defence and score under the posts, allowing captain Lucy Mulhall to convert for a 12-0 lead.
 
The USA, back to seven players attacked Ireland for the remainder of the half, and while the Irish defence was strong, the Americans managed to break through for a 12th minute try through Richelle Stephens. In a tense climax, Ireland fumbled the kick-off, but held their defence to secure a terrific 12-5 victory.

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Ireland’s second game of the day saw them play last year’s World Series runners up, Canada, who had suffered a shock defeat to Fiji in the first round. Anthony Eddy’s side again began positively, showing good continuity at ruck time. This created space out wide, allowing Mulhall to cross the line for a try she converted herself.
 
Canada hit back almost immediately, with Jennifer Kish finding a gap in Ireland’s defence to dot down under the posts and level matters at 7-all. Both sides began the second half well, however lady luck shone down on Canada when the ball popped out of an Irish ruck, allowing Magali Harvey to get over in the corner.
 
Ireland fumbled the restart and the Canadians applied pressure at the resulting scrum which allowed Harvey, who would go on to be the tournament’s top try scorer of the day, cross over again. The referee requested the TMO as there was a possibility that the ball was not grounded, however a technical issue meant that the TMO was unavailable, so after consulting with her touch judges, the referee awarded the try.
 
Ireland attempted to attack for the final minutes of the game, but Canada’s defence was strong enough to keep the Irish at bay as they claimed a 17-7 success.

Fiji went into their round 3 clash with Ireland as strong favourites, having already caused upsets against Canada and the USA and they started impressively, combining their pace with deft offloads.
 
Ireland were not phased by what Fiji had done earlier in the day and while Timaima Ravisa opened the scoring for her side, Ireland replied with a try of their own through skipper Mulhall.
 
Tenacious and aggressive tackling, particularly from Ashleigh Baxter and Stacey Flood (Flood was forced to retire injured), was not enough to keep the Fijians at bay as they scored two more tries before the break for a 17-5 scoreline.
 
Fiji picked up where they left off in the second half as they crossed twice more within two minutes. But Ireland showed great heart in defence, and this paid off as a turnover allowed Miller to sprint home for her second try of the day, closing out the scoring at 27-10.

Mulhall and her team-mates will meet Brazil in the Bowl semi-finals at 11.52am local time/7.52am Irish time, with Japan and the USA on the other side of the draw.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Dubai, UAE – Thursday, December 3-Friday, December 4):

Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster)
Megan Williams (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht)
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum/Leinster) (capt)
Eimear Considine (TID)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Amee-Leigh Crowe (St. Mary’s/Munster)
Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht)
Audrey O’Flynn (TID)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)

Ireland Women’s Sevens Results/Fixtures –

Thursday, December 3:

USA 5 Ireland 12
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Alison Miller, Louise Galvin; Con: Lucy Mulhall

Team: Ashleigh Baxter, Megan Williams, Audrey O’Flynn, Alison Miller, Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin, Lucy Mulhall (capt).

Subs: Katie Fitzhenry, Claire Keohane, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Eimear Considine, Sene Naoupu.

Canada 17 Ireland 7
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Lucy Mulhall; Con: Lucy Mulhall

Team: Ashleigh Baxter, Megan Williams, Audrey O’Flynn, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin, Lucy Mulhall.

Subs: Katie Fitzhenry, Claire Keohane, Alison Miller, Eimear Considine, Sene Naoupu.

 

Fiji 27 Ireland 10
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Lucy Mulhall, Alison Miller

Team: Ashleigh Baxter, Alison Miller, Audrey O’Flynn, Megan Williams, Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin, Lucy Mulhall (capt).

Subs: Katie Fitzhenry, Claire Keohane, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Eimear Considine, Sene Naoupu.

Friday, December 4:

Bowl Semi-Final: Ireland v Brazil, 11.52am local time/7.52am Irish time