Anthony Eddy, the IRFU Director of Women’s and Sevens Rugby, has selected the Ireland Women’s Sevens squad for the second and final leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series in Kazan, Russia this weekend.
The Kazan 7s is the final competition for the Ireland Women this season, and a high placing finish will see them qualify for next summer’s Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco.
Of the 13 players named in the squad, 10 were involved in the opening round of the Grand Prix Series in Malemort, France where Ireland finished third of the 12 competing teams.
Captain Lucy Mulhall, who was rested for Ireland’s final World Series tournament in Clermont-Ferrand two weeks ago, returns to the side as does Kerry native Louise Galvin.
The in-form trio of Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Hannah Tyrrell are set to compete in their eighth Sevens tournament of the season, having been ever present since the opening stage of the World Series in Dubai last December.
Claire Keohane, Kim Flood, Katie Heffernan, Megan Williams and Audrey O’Flynn, who stepped up as captain in Mulhall’s absence, also lined out in green in Malemort. Teenagers Claire Boles (pictured above) and Anna McGann, who both made their senior debuts in Clermont, feature again in the squad line-up as does Katie Fitzhenry who has recovered from the injury that kept her sidelined recently.
With his charges looking forward to play England, Sweden and Poland in Pool C on Saturday, head coach Anthony Eddy said: “The squad had a good two weeks in France in June, finishing third in Malemort at the Grand Prix and then we had a top eight finish at the Clermont 7s, where we had three new caps in Claire, Anna and Niamh (Byrne).
“It’s been a progressive season for the Women’s Sevens programme, so we’re aiming to end it on a positive note in Kazan where we’ll be looking to gain qualification for next season’s Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco.”
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series – Leg 2, Central Stadium, Kazan, Russia, Saturday, July 8-Sunday, July 9):
Claire Boles (Enniskillen/Ulster)
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
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)
Audrey O’Flynn (Ireland Sevens Programme)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Megan Williams (St. Mary’s)
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Fixtures –
Kazan 7s – Pool C:
Saturday, July 8
Ireland v Poland, Central Stadium, 10am local time/8am Irish time
Ireland v Sweden, Central Stadium, 12.45pm local time/10.45am Irish time
Ireland v England, Central Stadium, 3.53pm local time/1.53pm Irish time
Sunday, July 9