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Murphy Crowe Hails ‘Huge Performance’ As Ireland Finish Seventh In Sydney

Murphy Crowe Hails ‘Huge Performance’ As Ireland Finish Seventh In Sydney

The Ireland Women matched their best ever finish since returning to the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in 2015, as they defeated Dubai finalists USA 19-10 to claim seventh spot at the Sydney 7s.

Determined to break back into the top eight, Ireland ended the weekend in seventh – as they did in Langford last May – after Louise Galvin starred with a brace of tries against the Americans and the ever-elusive Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe broke clear for her fourth try of the tournament at Allianz Stadium.

Anthony Eddy’s charges picked up eight series points, moving themselves above England into eighth place in the overall standings after two rounds. The World Series resumes in April with the Japanese leg in Kitakyushu where Ireland will play Sydney champions Australia, France and invitational side China in the pool stages.

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Ireland had the early possession inside their own half, until Galvin jinked and threw a dummy which allowed her to burst in between Abby Gustaitis and Tia Blythe and dart clear from 65 metres out for a terrific individual try, with just over a minute on the clock. Captain Lucy Mulhall tagged on the conversion.

Ireland’s tenacious defence was summed up by Stacey Flood’s back-to-back tackles and Katie Fitzhenry’s follow-up at the breakdown to a win a penalty. Although was Naya Tapper well marshalled out wide by Murphy Crowe and Audrey O’Flynn, the USA set up a try-scoring opportunity from a lineout but pressure from Flood forced a knock-on from Jordan Gray.

Quickly turning defence into attack, Galvin broke from deep again with a show-and-go and the Kerry woman did well to dive on the ball after it had gone loose from Tapper’s fingertips and Murphy Crowe’s shin. The efforts of Flood and Mulhall tied in defenders before Fitzhenry released Murphy Crowe to scurry through a gap and score just before half-time.

Mulhall converted from straight in front for a 14-0 lead, and the skipper had a key involvement in Ireland’s third try. The second half was two minutes’ old when the girls in green used a lineout near the 10-metre line to flood out to the left and Mulhall ran hard to draw in Alev Kelter, opening up a gap for Galvin to gather a well-timed pass and outpace the cover from 35 metres out, with Tapper too occupied by the lurking Murphy Crowe.

That score made it 19-0 but the Americans still carried plenty of threats out wide. Replacement Cheta Emba showed her pace and power to pull back five points, with Nicole Heavirland missing the conversion. Ireland’s tackles continued to stick amid a late USA onslaught, as late replacements Eve Higgins, Aoife Doyle and Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird maintained the high standards from the first half.

Despite Hope Rogers touching down from a quick tap five metres out, the conversion was missed, leaving Ireland out of reach in the last play. A final American attack was thwarted by Mulhall and Doyle as they hunted down Emba and forced a forward pass.

The collective performance showed Ireland’s bounce-back-ability, following Saturday’s two defeats to New Zealand (36-0) and France (17-7). Together with their 17-14 pool victory over Fiji on Friday, today’s result saw Eddy’s side put the down a marker as they build towards the final World Series rounds and July’s Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco.

Mulhall and Flood finished second and ninth respectively on Sydney’s DHL Performance Tracker list, while Murphy Crowe’s four tries across the weekend took her Irish all-time series record to 39 tries in 65 matches. The 22-year-old speedster said after the American game: “That was a huge performance. We were focused on keeping possession. We were disappointed with our performances yesterday so we wanted to give it everything today.”

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2017/18 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Sydney 7s, Allianz Stadium, Moore Park, Sydney, Friday, January 26-Sunday, January 28):

Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster)
Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster)
Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock/Leinster) *
Aoife Doyle (Shannon/Railway Union/Munster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Katie Heffernan (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 RESULTS – SYDNEY 7s:

Friday, January 26 –

Pool C:

Russia 19 Ireland 7, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Con: Lucy Mulhall

Team: Ashleigh Baxter, Katie Fitzhenry, Audrey O’Flynn, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin.

Subs used: Katie Heffernan, Eve Higgins, Aoife Doyle, Claire Boles. Not used: Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird.

Canada 24 Ireland 12, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall; Con: Lucy Mulhall

Team: Ashleigh Baxter, Katie Fitzhenry, Audrey O’Flynn, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin.

Subs used: Aoife Doyle, Katie Heffernan, Eve Higgins, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird. Not used: Claire Boles.

Ireland 17 Fiji 14, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Audrey O’Flynn 2; Con: Lucy Mulhall

Team: Audrey O’Flynn, Katie Fitzhenry, Ashleigh Baxter, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin.

Subs used: Aoife Doyle, Eve Higgins, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird. Not used: Katie Heffernan, Claire Boles.

HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Sydney Results & Pool Tables

Saturday, January 27 –

Cup Quarter-Final: New Zealand 36 Ireland 0, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Scorers: Ireland: –

Team: Katie Fitzhenry, Audrey O’Flynn, Claire Boles, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin.

Subs used: Aoife Doyle, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Katie Heffernan, Eve Higgins. Not used: Ashleigh Baxter.

5th-8th Place Play-Off: Ireland 7 France 17, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Con: Lucy Mulhall

Team: Audrey O’Flynn, Katie Fitzhenry, Ashleigh Baxter, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin.

Sub used: Aoife Doyle. Not used: Katie Heffernan, Claire Boles, Eve Higgins, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird.

Sunday, January 28 –

7th-8th Place Play-Off: USA 10 Ireland 19, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Scorers: Ireland: Louise Galvin 2, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Cons: Lucy Mulhall

Team: Ashleigh Baxter, Katie Fitzhenry, Audrey O’Flynn, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin.

Subs used: Katie Heffernan, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Aoife Doyle, Eve Higgins. Not used: Claire Boles.

HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Rankings After Sydney

For more information on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, visit www.worldrugby.org/sevens-series.