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Three Ireland Teams Get Set For Dubai Sevens Kick-Off

Three Ireland Teams Get Set For Dubai Sevens Kick-Off

There will be three Ireland Sevens teams in action in Dubai over the next three days, with the Ireland Women’s Sevens side getting their HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series campaign underway tomorrow.

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The Ireland Women face Fiji in their opening game at 8am Irish time tomorrow, with the games being streamed live online via the World Rugby website. The sides met five times last season, with two wins apiece along with one draw. The win in Sydney last January was the first time Ireland had defeated the Fijians.

Captain Lucy Mulhall and her team-mates will be looking for a positive start to the day, as they then face a Canadian side that includes the highly-rated Brittany Benn who was named in last season’s Team of the Year. Canada finished third on the series last season, so they themselves will be looking to lay down a statement of intent from early on.

The final pool game of the day sees Ireland up against familiar foes Spain. The sides met in last year’s Dubai 7s Bowl final where Ireland were the victors, however having finished ninth in the overall standings last season, Ireland will be looking to claim a spot in Friday’s Cup quarter-finals and a victory over Spain will go a long way to helping them to achieve that goal.

The girls in green go into the tournament with an exciting and well-drilled squad, with top try scorer Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe in their ranks, along with skipper Mulhall and half-back Stacey Flood both raring to go. Ashleigh Baxter, Katie Fitzhenry, Louise Galvin and Hannah Tyrrell are all back in the Sevens fold, having competed at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Dublin and Belfast during the summer.

Speedster Aoife Doyle makes a long-awaited return to the side, having missed a number of tournaments through injury, and there are also two uncapped players in the squad, with Eve Higgins and Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird set for their first Sevens caps in Dubai.

Tomorrow begins the first of the five stages on the 2017/18 Women’s World Series – Ireland will be in Sydney in January, take a break during the Women’s Six Nations and then travel to Kitakyushu, Japan in April, Langford in Canada in May and finish the series alongside the Men’s World Series in Paris in June.

The World Rugby Sevens season will finish for the Women’s side at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco in July. An Ireland Women’s Sevens Development squad is also in Dubai and will compete in the Dubai 7s Invitational tournament. The squad combines players who have experience on the Women’s Sevens World Series with younger talent that is progressing through the Women’s Sevens programme.

Meanwhile, the Ireland Men’s Sevens squad will also compete in the Dubai 7s Invitational tournament on Friday and Saturday. The Billy Dardis-led side are drawn into Pool C with Germany, France Development and Old Georgians RFC.

Along with Ireland, Germany and the French outfit, the Dubai 7s Invitational features several other international teams, including the likes of Georgia, Zambia, England Development (Royals), the South African 7s Academy and the Canada Maple Leafs.

The Ireland Men have competed at several tournaments already this season, facing off against World Series opposition at the Oktoberfest 7s and Silicon Valley 7s and securing wins over the likes of Chile, France, China and Canada (twice).

These competitions are part of their preparation for two major tournaments in 2018. They will compete at the Hong Kong Repechage in April, where the winners will gain a spot on next season’s World Sevens Series, and the Rugby World Cup Sevens takes place next July, which they qualified for via last summer’s Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series.

The Dubai Rugby Sevens is expected to welcome over 100,000 fans over the three days with many coming in fancy dress and enjoying the Rugby Village and sporting action all weekend long. Tickets for the Dubai Rugby Sevens can be purchased online at www.dubairugby7s.com.

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