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Ireland Women’s Sevens Squad Confirmed For Malemort And Clermont

Ireland Women’s Sevens Squad Confirmed For Malemort And Clermont

IRFU Director of Women’s and Sevens Rugby, Anthony Eddy, has named the Ireland Women’s Sevens squad to travel to France to compete in the opening Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series tournament in Malemort this weekend, and then the final leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Clermont the following week.

Malemort is the first of two stages of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series, with the second leg taking place in Kazan, Russia on July 8-9. Ireland are seeking to qualify for next summer’s Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco via the European Grand Prix Series where two places are available.

Of the five European nations that are core teams on this year’s World Sevens Series circuit, England and Ireland are they only two Grand Prix Series sides who have not secured a place at the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens.

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Spain qualify for the San Francisco tournament thanks to their placing at the 2013 competition, while Russia and France will secure their spots due to their final rankings in this year’s World Series. Ireland and England will compete for the final two places, alongside the likes of the Netherlands, Italy and Wales.

The Ireland Women guaranteed their place as a core team for next season’s World Series when they beat England on day 2 in Langford to claim seventh place at the tournament – their highest ever placing as a core team.

All 12 players who took to the pitch at the Langford 7s in Canada last month are included in the Malemort and Clermont-bound squad – Ashleigh Baxter, Chloe Blackmore, Kim Flood, Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin, Katie Heffernan, Claire Keohane, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Sene Naoupu, Audrey O’Flynn, Hannah Tyrrell and captain Lucy Mulhall.

Megan Williams also returns to the squad and Anna McGann, who was the 13th squad member in Canada, will win her first senior Ireland Sevens cap should she make the matchday squad. Ireland’s Pool C opponents in Malemort are England, Italy and Portugal, while their Pool A opponents in Clermont will be New Zealand, USA and Japan.

Ahead of the squad’s departure for Malemort this week, head coach Anthony Eddy said: “We have a busy two weeks ahead of us in France, with two big tournaments coming up. The Grand Prix Series will be very important for us this season as we look to secure a place at next year’s World Cup.

“Our focus is very much on the Malemort tournament this weekend, and although the last stage of the World Series is just around the corner in Clermont, it’s very much about getting the Grand Prix off to a good start.”

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series, Raymond Faucher Stadium, June 17-18/HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Leg 6, Gabriel Montpied Stadium, Clermont-Ferrand, June 24-25):

Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster)
Chloe Blackmore (St. Mary’s/Munster)
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar/Railway Union (dual status)/Leinster)
Anna McGann (Buccaneers/UCD (dual status)/Leinster)
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)
Megan Williams (St. Mary’s)

RUGBY EUROPE WOMEN’S SEVENS GRAND PRIX SERIES – MALEMORT 7s FIXTURES:

Saturday, June 17 – Pool C:

Ireland v Italy, Raymond Faucher Stadium, 11.06am local time/10.06am Irish time
Ireland v Portugal, Raymond Faucher Stadium, 1.51pm local time/12.51pm Irish time
England v Ireland, Raymond Faucher Stadium, 4.14pm local time/3.14pm Irish time

This weekend’s matches will be streamed live on www.rugbyeurope.tv. For more information on the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series, click here.

HSBC WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S SEVENS SERIES – CLERMONT 7s FIXTURES:

Saturday, June 24 – Pool A:

USA v Ireland, Gabriel Montpied Stadium, 12pm local time/11am Irish time
New Zealand v Ireland, Gabriel Montpied Stadium, 3.06pm local time/2.06pm Irish time
Ireland v Japan, Gabriel Montpied Stadium, 5.29pm local time/4.29pm Irish time

For more information on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, click here..