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‘Valuable Experience’ As Ireland Women Finish 12th in Dubai

‘Valuable Experience’ As Ireland Women Finish 12th in Dubai

Ireland finished in 12th place in the first leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Dubai. There were a lot of positives to be taken from the matches as the squad add to their international Sevens experience.

Day two began with a disappointing 29-7 loss to a quick and clever Brazil side that had the ability to spot gaps in the Irish defence, and more importantly exploit them.
 
It took Brazil three minutes to register their first try, with Haline Leme Scratut finding space down the left hand side and outpacing the Irish defence to dot down under the posts, making it 7-0.
 
Three minutes later, Brazil worked a neat attack from a lineout with a reverse pass sending captain Luiza Campos down the right wing to score in the corner – 12-0.
 
Ireland struggled at ruck time and conceded too many penalties, and on seven minutes, Edna Santini took a tap penalty and took off on a mazy run, stepping away from several Irish defenders before touching down on the left hand side to make it 17-0 just before half-time
 
Ireland began the second half more positively, putting several phases together, but just as it looked like they might get a stroke of luck, a knock-on inside the Brazilian 22 put an end to that.
 
Anthony Eddy’s charges did manage to keep Brazil inside their own half, and won a penalty that captain Lucy Mulhall quickly tapped off and she fed Louise Galvin who got over to the left of the posts. Mulhall added the extras to make it 17-7.
 
Brazil came straight back, however, and from the resulting kick-off they sprinted straight down the touchline to dot down through Beatriz Futuro Muhlbauer. In the final play of the game, the South Americans spotted a gap down the blindside of the scrum to score once more through Juliana Oliveira de Menezes.

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The defeat to Brazil meant that Ireland would fight it out with the USA, one of their Pool B rivals from the first day, in the 11th/12th place play-off.

They got off to a great start when Galvin touched down in the opening minute, with Mulhall converting. The USA replied with three converted tries in quick succession to take the lead, however, as the speedy Kristen Thomas (2) and Jessica Javelet both crossed the whitewash.

Ireland scored just before the break through Amee-Leigh Crowe, and with Mulhall adding the conversion to make it 21-12, it was still all to play for in the second half.
 
The girls in green scored their third try of the game straight after the break, with the experienced Alison Miller cutting in from her wing to score off a pass from Mulhall, which the captain again converted.


 
With Ireland edging closer, the Eagles opted to take a penalty shot at the posts which Alev Kelter converted to push her side five points in front. They then extended their lead to 31-19 as the elusive Thomas completed an impressive hat-trick.
 
A yellow card followed for the USA’s Nia Williams and Ireland made their numerical advantage count when the determined Mulhall scored and converted to bring her tally for the tournament to 25 points.
 
It would not be enough, however, as the referee blew the whistle with the score finishing 31-24 in the favour of the USA, who gained revenge for yesterday’s 12-5 pool defeat.

Speaking after the game, IRFU Director of Sevens Rugby, Anthony Eddy, said: “It’s not the finish we would have hoped for, but the time here in Dubai has been a valuable experience for the girls.

“There’s lots of positives to take from the games. The only way for us to improve as a team is to pit ourselves against the best in the world and that’s what being on the World Series is all about. We’ve learnt a lot from the past two days and we know what areas we need to work on when we get back training.”

The HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series standings after the Dubai leg are as follows: Australia 20 points, Russia 18 points, England 16 points, France 14 points, New Zealand 12 points, Canada 10 points, Fiji 8 points, Spain 6 points, Japan 4 points, Brazil 3 points, USA 2 points and Ireland 1 point.

The second round of the series will take place in São Paulo, Brazil – at the Arena Barueri – on February 20-21.

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 –

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 29
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Louise Galvin; Con: Lucy Mulhall

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

Subs: Katie Fitzhenry, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Eimear Considine, Stacey Flood, Sene Naoupu.

11th/12th Place Play-Off: USA 31 Ireland 24
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Louise Galvin, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Alison Miller, Lucy Mulhall; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2

Team: Ashleigh Baxter, Megan Williams, Sene Naoupu, Claire Keohane, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Louise Galvin, Lucy Mulhall (capt).

Subs: Katie Fitzhenry, Alison Miller, Eimear Considine, Stacey Flood, Audrey O’Flynn.