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Ireland Women’s Sevens – Atlanta Preview

Ireland Women’s Sevens – Atlanta Preview

The Ireland Women’s Sevens team kick off the third leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Atlanta, Georgia today. They have been drawn in Pool B with France, Canada and fellow Olympic hopefuls Russia.

Ireland’s first game of the day is against France at 12.52pm local time/5.52pm Irish time – live streamed via www.worldrugby.org. The two sides are yet to meet on the World Series circuit this year, and the Irish Women will be hopeful of getting the tournament off to a positive start.

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Next up is Canada, whom Ireland are now becoming well acquainted with, having been drawn with them in the pool stages in both Dubai and Sao Paulo. The Canadians, who are currently ranked third in the official World Series standings, have been victorious on both occasions and they were also finalists in Sao Paulo, so they will be coming into the game full of confidence.

The final pool match will see Ireland take on Russia. The sides met in Sao Paulo in the Bowl semi-final where Russia were the winners on the day. Both countries are vying for the final spot at the Rio Olympics this summer, and with the Repechage tournament taking place in UCD in June, Ireland will be aiming for an improved performance against their Olympic rivals to let them know that they will have to work hard if they want that place in Rio.

There are three members of the Irish squad who were involved in the Six Nations this year. Sene Naoupu is back into the Sevens game having missed Sao Paulo due to her 15s commitments and will be looking to bring her strong attacking game to Atlanta. Sene was highlighted as one of the players to watch out for in this World Rugby tournament preview.

Alison Miller, who has scored five tries on the Sevens circuit this season, will look to pick up where she left off in the green jersey as she scored a hat-trick in Ireland’s final Six Nations outing against Scotland.

Kim Flood, who won her first 15s cap last month, will add a second Ireland rugby cap to her collection as she makes her Sevens debut in Atlanta. The tournament takes place at the Fifth Third Bank Stadium, which is home to the Kennesaw State Owls.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, Atlanta, Georgia):

Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster) *
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum/Leinster) (capt)
Amee-Leigh Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)
Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht)
Audrey O’Flynn (Talent ID Programme)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Megan Williams (St. Mary’s)

MATCH SCHEDULE –

Friday, April 8:

France v Ireland, Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw, 12.52pm local time/5.52pm Irish time
Canada v Ireland, Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw, 3.14pm local time/8.14pm Irish time
Russia v Ireland, Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw, 6.20pm local time/11.20pm Irish time

Saturday, April 9:

Cup/Bowl/Plate Play-Offs

* Denotes uncapped Sevens international player