The Ireland Women’s Sevens squad to compete in the opening leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Dubai next week has been named by Anthony Eddy.
The selected Ireland side will be captained by Wicklow woman Lucy Mulhall and features two uncapped players in teenager Eve Higgins and Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, who played for Munster against the Barbarians earlier this month.
Higgins has come through the Ireland Sevens pathway, representing Ireland at Schools and Under-18 levels, while Munster winger Nic a Bhaird has also been a part of the wider Ireland XVs squad over the past number of seasons.
Aoife Doyle returns to the squad having missed out on a number of tournaments last season through injury, Claire Boles and Stacey Flood, who spent their summer in Australia, playing in the Aon University 7s tournament with Bond University, are also included along with four players who were involved in the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland this year – Ashleigh Baxter, Katie Fitzhenry, Louise Galvin and Hannah Tyrrell.
Audrey O’Flynn and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Ireland’s top try scorer in the World Series last season with 21 tries, complete the 12-woman squad. Ireland are drawn in Pool C with Canada, Fiji and Spain in Pool C, with Fiji first up on Thursday week (November 30).
Ahead of the squad’s departure for Dubai, Anthony Eddy, the IRFU Director of Women’s and Sevens Rugby, said: “I think the squad are really excited about the World Series this year and having shown some good improvement the last couple of seasons, we will be looking to build on that throughout the series.
“We’re drawn with Canada, Fiji and Spain, and we know what those sides will bring to each game. Fiji are first up, so we’ll be focusing on that and looking to get the tournament off to a positive start.
“The Dubai Sevens is always a great event to start off the World Series – there’s always a festival atmosphere and there’s usually a good turnout of Irish supporters over the weekend, so I know the players are looking forward to getting over there and getting the season underway.”
Ireland will debut the first ever IRFU Sevens-specific jersey at the Dubai 7s. It is designed in conjunction with Canterbury of New Zealand and on sale exclusively from Ireland Sevens sponsors, Intersport Elverys. You can purchase the home and alternate Ireland Sevens jerseys online here.
For more information on the Dubai 7s tournament, or to buy tickets, visit www.dubairugby7s.com.
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2017/18 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Dubai 7s, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, Thursday, November 30-Friday, December 1):
Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster)
Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster)
Aoife Doyle (Shannon/Railway Union/Munster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster) *
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum) (capt)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)
Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
Audrey O’Flynn (Ireland Sevens)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
* Denotes uncapped player at this level
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS FIXTURES – DUBAI 7s:
Thursday, November 30 –
Fiji v Ireland, 12pm local time/8am Irish time
Canada v Ireland, 3.18pm local time/11.18am Irish time
Ireland v Spain, 5.53pm local time/1.53pm Irish time
Friday, December 1 –
For more info on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, visit www.worldrugby.org/sevens-series.