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Win Eludes Ireland Women On Opening Day In Clermont

Win Eludes Ireland Women On Opening Day In Clermont

A win proved elusive for the Ireland Women on the opening day of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series tournament in Clermont-Ferrand. They will play Japan in the Bowl semi-final tomorrow afternoon.

HSBC WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S SEVENS SERIES – DAY 1:

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POOL C:

FRANCE 40 IRELAND 0, Stade Gabriel Montpied, Clermont-Ferrand
Scorers: France: Tries: Christelle Le Duff, Caroline Ladagnous 2, Jessy Tremouliere, Chloe Pelle, Rose Thomas; Cons: Christelle Le Duff 3, Jade Le Pesq 2
Ireland: –

HT: France 14 Ireland 0

Tournament hosts France made a blistering start in the bright Clermont sunshine, handing Ireland a heavy six-try beating.

Caroline Ladagnous’ powerful left wing break and well-timed offload set up Chloe Pelle for a try in the opening minute, and the experienced Christelle Le Duff finished off their second seven-pointer following some slick support play.

Direct running from Megan Williams and Sene Naoupu offered some promise for Ireland, but the strong French side starved them of any territory and momentum, leaving it 14-0 at half-time.

Within two minutes of the restart, France profited from a quick turnover as the dangerous Ladagnous raided in from the right for the first of her two tries.

Although Ireland’s work-rate was high in defence – Ashleigh Baxter and Stacey Flood stood out in that regard – France’s accuracy on the ball, coupled with the 28-degree heat, saw the girls in green leak three more scores.

Ladagnous cut in between two defenders from the Irish 22-metre line, some nice offloading on the left put Rose Thomas away and then Jessy Tremouliere had the final say, breaking past two defenders from 40 metres out.

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

Subs: Hannah Tyrrell, Aoife Doyle, Kim Flood, Susan Vaughan, Alison Miller.

AUSTRALIA 40 IRELAND 5, Stade Gabriel Montpied, Clermont-Ferrand
Scorers: Australia: Tries: Sharni Williams, Ellia Green 2, Tiana Penitani, Alicia Quirk, Chloe Dalton; Cons: Chloe Dalton 5
Ireland: Try: Lucy Mulhall

HT: Australia 14 Ireland 0

Eventual World Series champions Australia matched France’s efforts in running in six tries against Ireland in Pool C.

Anthony Eddy’s charges had a solid start with Alison Miller and the returning Aoife Doyle both prominent, although the Australians did well to defend captain Lucy Mulhall’s quick tap in their 22.

With four minutes on the clock, a superb solo try from Ellia Green broke the deadlock – she shrugged off tackles from Megan Williams, Hannah Tyrrell and Kim Flood and dived over in the left corner ahead of the chasing Miller.

Poor Irish defence allowed Sharni Williams in for try number two just before the interval, with Chloe Dalton adding the extras for a 14-0 scoreline in wet conditions.

Tiana Penitani opened the scoring in the second half, being fed wide on the left after Ireland had been sucked in, but the classy Mulhall responded by turning a loose pass into a breakaway score from the Australian 10-metre line.

However, Sene Naoupu was sidelined by a nasty looking injury and Dalton’s momentum took her over the Irish line soon after, despite a last-ditch challenge from Amee-Leigh Crowe.

With the rain still coming down, the Australians added two more touchdowns, Green completing her brace from her own hack through and then Alicia Quirk had the time and space to score on the right, past the hooter.

IRELAND: Audrey O’Flynn, Megan Williams, Hannah Tyrrell, Aoife Doyle, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Kim Flood, Alison Miller.

Subs: Sene Naoupu, Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Ashleigh Baxter, Susan Vaughan.

FIJI 19 IRELAND 14, Stade Gabriel Montpied, Clermont-Ferrand
Scorers: Fiji: Tries: Viniana Riwai, Luisa Basei Tisolo 2; Cons: Luisa Basei Tisolo 2
Ireland Tries: Amee-Leigh Crowe 2; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2

HT: Fiji 5 Ireland 7

A last-gasp try denied Ireland what would have been a deserved victory against a powerful Fijian team in the final round of the pool stages. They advance to day two to face Japan in the Bowl semi-final, with the winners playing Russia or Kenya.

Ireland’s improved physicality and defensive shape was evident from the opening minutes, with Stacey Flood’s thumping try-saving tackle denying Ebony Satala in the right corner.

A leg-pumping run from Audrey O’Flynn gained some crucial metres for Ireland up to halfway, with Ashleigh Baxter adding her weight to the attack, before Megan Williams had to react quickly to thwart a Fiji breakout.

A scrappy but enthralling first half ended with a rapid-fire exchange of tries, Viniana Riwai touching down wide on the right following a close-in scrum and Ireland managing to respond after the hooter.

Stacey Flood made the initial incision over halfway, Williams exploited further space up the right wing and after O’Flynn hurdled a tackle, Crowe took a great line onto a Mulhall pass to dart in under the posts.

Mulhall’s conversion split the sides at half-time, 7-5, but the quick-stepping Luisa Basei Tisolo cut inside two defenders to move Fiji back in front barely a minute into the second period. Tisolo converted for a 12-7 lead.

Straight from the restart, though, Mulhall retrieved possession and Crowe seized her opportunity to break from the ruck, stretching her legs on a brilliant 80-metre run straight in under the posts.

Mulhall added the extras to restore the two-point margin, with four minutes left, and Ireland edged closer to the win courtesy of a couple of Fijian knock-ons near halfway.

A shoulder injury ended replacement Susan Vaughan’s involvement and in a frantic finish, a fumble by Stacey Flood gave Fiji a final scrum, with the ball moved to the left where the long-striding Tisolo dashed clear and broke Irish hearts in the process.

IRELAND: Audrey O’Flynn, Stacey Flood, Megan Williams, Amee-Leigh Crowe, Ashleigh Baxter, Aoife Doyle, Lucy Mulhall (capt).

Subs: Hannah Tyrrell, Kim Flood, Susan Vaughan, Alison Miller.

HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Clermont 7s Results/Fixtures

HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Clermont 7s Tables

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:

Pool C –

France 40 Ireland 0, Stade Gabriel Montpied
Australia 40 Ireland 5, Stade Gabriel Montpied
Fiji 19 Ireland 14, Stade Gabriel Montpied

Sunday, May 29:

Bowl Semi-Final: Japan v Ireland, Stade Gabriel Montpied, 2.10pm local time/1.10pm Irish time