The Ireland Women’s Sevens squad will compete in the final stage of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series this weekend when they take part in the Clermont 7s in France. We preview the action.
Anthony Eddy’s team arrived in Clermont on Wednesday night and with the short trip to Clermont from Dublin, the main work for their pool games against France, Australia and Fiji will have been done from their base on Lansdowne Road.
Ireland will kick off day 1 at 12.50pm local time/11.50am Irish time when they take on hosts France. Opening your day against the tournament hosts is always a challenge and Clermont rugby supporters are known to be some of the loudest and proudest around, so it should make for memorable encounter.
Ireland faced France in Atlanta last month, losing out 22-0 so they will be hoping for an improved result this time around.
They will then renew acquaintances with Australia, a side they will know well having spent time training with them at their base in Sydney in February.
The Australians are targeting their first ever World Series title and have brought a side to France that is loaded with talent. Ireland will be looking to spoil the party and the familiarity with the Aussies should be an advantage.
Ireland finish the day against the unpredictable Fijians. When one thinks of great Sevens teams it is Fiji and their elaborate passing, quick feet and big hits that spring to mind – that is exactly what Ireland will be expecting come 6.18pm local time/5.18pm Irish time tomorrow evening.
While the Fijians can be somewhat unknown, the girls in green are more than capable of dealing with everything that is thrown at them and with both sides having met in Dubai and Sao Paulo already this season, once the ever improving Irish defence can absorb the strong running Fijians, an Irish victory is something this team are more than capable of.
The Ireland Women has been improving steadily since the first stage of the World Series in Dubai. Former Irish hockey international Audrey O’Flynn and ex-Dublin GAA footballer Kim Flood are beginning to establish themselves as strong ball carriers and when you add in the multi-talented Sene Naoupu to the mix, this trio can create a lot of go-forward ball for Ireland.
These strong carriers should complement the distribution skills of the likes of captain Lucy Mulhall and scrum half Stacey Flood who will be looking to find speedsters Amee-Leigh Crowe, Alison Miller and Hannah Tyrrell in space.
Hard-hitting players like Megan Williams and Ashleigh Baxter will be expected to lead the tackles against three physical teams in the pool stages.
The versatile Aoife Doyle and strong running Susan Vaughan are in for their first World Series tournament of the season and will also be looking to leave their mark.
After Clermont, the Ireland Women’s Sevens squad will compete in the first leg of the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix in Kazan, Russia on June 11-12.
Then comes the Global Sevens Qualifier in UCD on June 25 and 26 and a shot at the Olympics – click here for tickets.
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, Clermont-Ferrand, May 28-29):
Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster)
Aoife Doyle (Shannon/Munster)
Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
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)
Susan Vaughan (Railway Union/Leinster)
Megan Williams (St. Mary’s)
Match Schedule –
Saturday, May 28:
France v Ireland, Stade Gabriel Montpied, 12.50pm local time/11.50am Irish time
Australia v Ireland, Stade Gabriel Montpied, 3.12pm local time/2.12pm Irish time
Fiji v Ireland, Stade Gabriel Montpied, 6.18pm local time/5.18pm Irish Time
Sunday, May 29: