IRFU Director of Women’s and Sevens Rugby Anthony Eddy has confirmed the 12 players to compete in the third stage of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Las Vegas on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4.
The Ireland team finished eighth overall at the Sydney 7s tournament, their best placing in a World Series tournament since 2013, and will be looking to build on that next weekend.
The girls in green will face hosts USA in the opening game of day 1, before taking on Fiji. They will finish the day against European rivals Spain.
Ireland have met all three teams in Pool B this season. They suffered a defeat to the US on day 2 in Sydney, having previously beaten them in Dubai.
Anthony Eddy’s charges also recorded their first ever win over Fiji at the Sydney 7s, having drawn with the Islanders in Dubai. In their most recent meeting with Spain, Ireland came back from 12-0 down to beat the Spanish 14-12 in the Challenge Trophy final in Dubai.
Returning to the team are Audrey O’Flynn who was unavailable for both Dubai and Sydney through injury, and Alison Miller and Sene Naoupu, who were both involved with Ireland sides in Dubai but were playing with the Ireland Women’s 15s team during the Sydney tournament.
Claire Keohane also returns to the squad having been involved with the Women’s Sevens Development side in Dubai. Ashleigh Baxter, Katie Fitzhenry, Susan Vaughan and Megan Williams complete the forwards in the squad.
They join captain Lucy Mulhall, who was one of the top-ranked overall performers in Sydney, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, who is currently the third top try scorer in this year’s World Series, and Hannah Tyrrell and Stacey Flood who were both try scorers in Sydney.
Commenting on the selection and Ireland’s pool opponents, Eddy said: “The team is progressing well and having finished ninth in Dubai and eighth in Sydney, there is a strong desire to build on these achievements.
“There has been a quicker turn around than usual, with Sydney taking place just three weeks ago, so we’re conscious that they players involved have recovered and are fit and ready to go for Las Vegas.
“We’ve been drawn with the hosts USA, Fiji and Spain, so while it will be a pool with teams we are familiar with, it will be a big challenge and everyone will need to be on top form for each game.”
Ireland are currently ranked ninth in the overall HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series standings, with 10 points. England are ahead of them in eighth place on 17 points, while France are seventh on 18 points.
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – USA Sevens, Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Friday, March 3-Saturday, March 4):
Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster)
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum/Leinster) (capt)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)
Sene Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls)
Audrey O’Flynn (Ireland Sevens Programme)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Susan Vaughan (Railway Union/Leinster)
Megan Williams (Ireland Sevens Programme)
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Fixtures –
USA 7s – Pool B:
Friday, March 3
USA v Ireland, Sam Boyd Stadium, 8.17am local time/4.17pm Irish time
Fiji v Ireland, Sam Boyd Stadium, 11.24am local time/7.24pm Irish time
Ireland v Spain, Sam Boyd Stadium, 2.09pm local time/10.09pm Irish time
Saturday, March 4
To keep up to date with the Ireland Women’s Sevens squad in Las Vegas, follow Irish Rugby on Twitter @IrishRugby, on Instagram @IrishRugby and on www.Facebook.com/IrishRugby.
For more information on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, visit http://www.worldrugby.org/womens-sevens-series.