Teenagers Megan Burns, Anna Doyle, Brittany Hogan and Emily Lane are the latest products of the IRFU Women’s Development pathway to take the step up to senior level, featuring in the Ireland squad that will take part in this weekend’s final round of the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series in Kazan, Russia.
All four players have come through the Women’s Development pathway which has been in operation for a number seasons and sees players identified at events such as the X7s tournaments. The players then progress to provincial development squads and are exposed to international competitions via the Ireland Under-18 Sevens squad.
Megan Burns (pictured below at the Girls X7s finals in 2016) and Anna Doyle were both part of the Ireland U-18 Sevens squad last season, and had great success in the summer’s inaugural Home Nations Series when they went undefeated across both legs to claim the title. They also picked up a bronze medal at the Rugby Europe U-18 Sevens Championship in Vichy in April.
Emily Lane and Brittany Hogan have also gained great experience over the past number of seasons, with both players picking up bronze medals at the UK School Games in 2016 and last year Lane captained Ireland to gold at the tournament. Both players also lined out for the Ireland Women’s Sevens Development side at the Dubai 7s Invitational competition last November.
The four new caps join an ever-growing list of players who have progressed through the underage development programme to senior representative level – Claire Boles, Aoife Doyle, Katie Heffernan, Anna McGann and Emma Murphy, who are all included in the squad for the Kazan 7s, are products of the system, as are Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and 2018 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Rookie of the Year nominee, Eve Higgins (pictured below).
Ireland are drawn in Pool C for the Kazan event, alongside England, Italy and Poland, and open Saturday’s pool stages at 8.44am Irish time against Poland. The side will be captained by experienced UL Bohemians and Munster back Claire Keohane.
The Kazan 7s, which will be live streamed on www.rugbyeurope.tv, is the second of two tournaments that make up the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series. Led by regular captain Lucy Mulhall, Ireland finished third at the opening leg in Marcoussis in France in June.
Stan McDowell will coach the side in Kazan and he is looking forward to seeing how the new-look team performs, saying; “It’s an exciting week for the players coming in for their first caps. They have shown their talent over the past number of seasons at underage level and have earned their opportunity to wear the Ireland senior jersey.
“They will have lots of experienced players around them in the squad, as the eight capped players have all played at World Series events and have been part of the programme for a number of seasons.”
The Ireland Sevens jerseys are available to buy online here from Elverys Intersport, official sports retailer of the IRFU.
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2018 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series – Round 2, Central Stadium, Kazan, Russia, Saturday, September 1-Sunday, September 2):
Megan Burns (Tullamore/Leinster) *
Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster)
Anna Doyle (Tullow/Leinster) *
Aoife Doyle (Railway Union/Shannon (dual status)/Munster)
Katie Heffernan (Railway Union/Mullingar (dual status)/Leinster)
Brittany Hogan (Cooke/Ulster) *
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemian/Munster) (capt)
Emily Lane (Mallow/Munster) *
Anna McGann (UCD/Leinster)
Emma Murphy (Railway Union/Leinster)
Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
* Denotes uncapped player
IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS FIXTURES – RUGBY EUROPE SEVENS GRAND PRIX SERIES: ROUND 2:
Saturday, September 1 –
Ireland v Poland, Central Stadium, Kazan, 10.44am local time/8.44am Irish time
Ireland v Italy, Central Stadium, Kazan, 1.36pm local time/11.36am Irish time
Ireland v England, Central Stadium, Kazan, 4.28pm local time/2.28pm Irish time
Sunday, September 2 –
The full fixtures and pools are available on the Rugby Europe tournament page.