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Ireland Women End Day One With Win Over Japan

Ireland Women End Day One With Win Over Japan

The Ireland Women will compete for their second successive Bowl title in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Langford, Canada later today.

Yesterday’s opening rounds saw Ireland finish third in Pool C, ending the day with a 21-14 victory over Japan. However, they missed out on a place in the Cup quarter-finals on scoring difference.

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Coach Anthony Eddy selected the same starting line-up for the three pool games, and they enjoyed strong starts against England and Canada before going down 29-5 and 26-0 respectively.

Lucy Mulhall and her team-mates, who were crowned Bowl champions in Atlanta last weekend, are back in action against Brazil at 11.28am local time/7.28pm Irish time today, with live streaming below:

HSBC WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S SEVENS SERIES – POOL C: Saturday, April 16

ENGLAND 29 IRELAND 5, Westhills Stadium, Langford
Scorers: England: Tries: Natasha Hunt, Emily Scarratt, Katy Mclean, Alice Richardson, Danielle Waterman; Con: Katy Mclean, Emily Scott
Ireland: Try: Audrey O’Flynn

Ireland wasted little time in taking the game to England, showing good hands early on and stretching the defence for Audrey O’Flynn to touch down with barely a minute on the clock.

Given their training time on the 4G pitches at the Aviva Stadium and Donnybrook, the girls in green looked right at home on the Westhills’ all-weather surface.

However, despite some impressive ball retention for long spells with Sene Naoupu and both Kim and Stacey Flood standing out, Ireland leaked two frustrating tries before half-time. Natasha Hunt’s solo effort was followed up another counter-attacking score from England captain Emily Scarratt.

Katy Mclean converted Scarratt’s try for a 12-5 advantage at the break, and the margin was soon widened by Mclean who finished off an overlap out wide.

Disappointingly, Ireland conceded two more scores to give the English a flattering final scoreline. Once more they turned defence into attack for Alice Richardson to cross the whitewash, and Danielle Waterman made an immediate impact off the bench with a try on her return from long-term injury.

IRELAND: Audrey O’Flynn, Sene Naoupu, Stacey Flood, Megan Williams, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Kim Flood.

Subs: Shannon Houston, Katie Fitzhenry, Claire Keohane, Hannah Tyrrell, Alison Miller.

CANADA 26 IRELAND 0, Westhills Stadium, Langford
Scorers: Canada: Tries: Bianca Farella, Kayla Mack 2, Kelly Russell; Cons: Ghislaine Landry 2, Kelly Russell
Ireland: –

Third-ranked Canada had to absorb some early pressure from Ireland, with O’Flynn’s barnstorming run from her own half, which included three big hand-offs, seeing her threaten the try-line.

Unfortunately for Eddy’s charges, the tournament hosts won back possession via a Karen Paquin tackle and countered from behind their posts for Bianca Farella to run the length of the pitch. Ghislaine Landry added the simple conversion for 7-0.

O’Flynn was pinged for obstruction from the restart – a very harsh call by referee James Bolabiu – and it took a superbly-timed tap tackle from Megan Williams to prevent Landry from going over in the left corner.

Amid a series of messy scrums, Ireland had to been sharp in defence to avoid leaking another try approaching the interval. Canada were territorially dominant but a crunching double tackle from skipper Mulhall and Naoupu brought the dangerous Farella down.

Disaster struck for Ireland right at the start of the second period, though, as Kayla Mack collected Mulhall’s kick-off and galloped clear to score with Landry adding an excellent conversion from the right.

As Ireland struggled to build from the back, a quick turnover allowed Landry to put Mack over for her second try. Fresh legs came on in the form of Alison Miller, Hannah Tyrrell and the Victoria-born Shannon Houston, however Canada had the final say in front of their home crowd as Kelly Russell converted her own try.

IRELAND: Audrey O’Flynn, Sene Naoupu, Stacey Flood, Megan Williams, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Lucy Mulhall, Kim Flood.

Subs: Shannon Houston, Katie Fitzhenry, Claire Keohane, Hannah Tyrrell, Alison Miller.

IRELAND 21 JAPAN 14, Westhills Stadium, Langford
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Alison Miller; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 3
Japan: Tries: Ano Kuwai, Marie Yamaguchi; Cons: Mio Yamanaka 2

Meeting for the second time in seven days following last week’s Bowl final in Atlanta, Ireland and Japan battled it out for third place in Pool C.

Japan’s direct style earned them the opening points, Ano Kuwai ghosting through a gap on the right to score by the posts with Mio Yamanaka converting.

But Ireland hit back straight from the restart, Stacey Flood gobbling up a loose ball and using a strong hand-off to brilliantly burst clear from her 10-metre line. Flood’s first World Series try was converted by Mulhall for 7-all.

Flood then turned provider for Ireland’s second try, looping a pass out to Amee-Leigh Crowe who used her pace to arc in from the right from 40 metres out. Mulhall’s conversion made it 14-7 for half-time.

Japan resumed on the front foot, Ireland scrambling well in defence to keep them out until the powerful Mateitoga Bogidraumainadave got her offload away for Marie Yamaguchi to dot down from a few metres out.

Yamanaka added the extras to tie things up at 14-all with four minutes remaining. Crucially, Ireland showed the greater composure as they backed themselves to attack from deep in the dying minutes.

Claire Keohane sped over halfway via a quick tap, O’Flynn then made further ground up the right before Mulhall’s looping midfield pass found Miller whose pace off the mark unlocked the Japanese defence for the clinching seven-pointer.

There was still time for Japan to launch a frantic late search for a levelling try, however Ireland held firm with the impressive O’Flynn getting in at the breakdown to win a final penalty in her 22.

IRELAND: Audrey O’Flynn, Sene Naoupu, Stacey Flood, Megan Williams, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Kim Flood.

Subs: Shannon Houston, Katie Fitzhenry, Claire Keohane, Hannah Tyrrell, Alison Miller.

Canada Sevens – Full Results/Fixtures

Canada Sevens – Pool Tables

Following the completion of the World Series in May, Ireland will move on to the all-important Women’s Sevens Olympic Repechage in UCD on June 24 and 25, tickets for which can be purchased here: http://www.ticketmaster.ie/sevens.

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

Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Shannon Houston (Blackrock/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 –

Sunday, April 17:

Bowl Semi-Final: Ireland v Brazil, Westhills Stadium, 11.28am local time/7.28pm Irish time