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Ireland Women Win Bronze In European Sevens Series

Ireland Women Win Bronze In European Sevens Series

A much-changed Ireland Women’s Sevens squad closed out the Kazan 7s with back-to-back wins to finish fifth this weekend and complete the 2018 Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series as bronze medal winners.

Kazan 7s Photo Gallery

Captain Claire Keohane, who made her debut back in 2012, and Hannah Tyrrell were the experienced hands guiding a youthful Ireland selection, which included four new caps in teenagers Megan Burns, Anna Doyle, Brittany Hogan and Emily Lane – all graduates of the IRFU Women’s Development pathway.

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The Stan McDowell-coached side recorded four wins out of six, defeating Italy twice (12-7 and 28-10), England (27-0) and Spain (14-5), while narrow losses to Poland (17-14) and Scotland (17-15) pushed them out of the running for the Cup competition. They averaged three tries per match.

Still, with back-to-back victories to close out both days and the six-try Tyrrell having the distinction of scoring in each game, Ireland’s showing in Kazan, combined with their third place in Marcoussis in June, was enough to guarantee another podium finish in the Grand Prix Series. They were third in 2016, second last year and claimed third spot in the 2018 edition, behind France and champions Russia.

Ireland’s best performance of the weekend – the five-try triumph over an equally experimental England team – saw them finish as runners-up in Pool C, setting up a Cup quarter-final this morning against a strong Scotland outfit boasting nine 15s international players.

Tyrrell’s take-down of the Scottish kick-off gave Ireland the first run of possession, however they were unable to capitalise on a Lane break up to halfway and a further run from deep by Claire Boles who was tracked down by Scotland captain Helen Nelson. A dropped pass foiled the Scots out wide before Ireland took the lead in the fourth minute.

Keohane’s surge over halfway got the Irish attack firing with Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird sucking in defenders and Keohane’s well-timed pass releasing Boles to finish brilliantly from 45 metres out with a strong fend. Keohane pulled the difficult conversion wide, and Scotland answered back in swift fashion with Eilidh Sinclair evading a Lane tackle and running clear to score from halfway.

Nelson’s conversion edged her side in front and they added a second try to lead 12-5 at the turnaround. Scotland were not back 10 metres when Nic a Bhaird took a quick tap but referee Aurelie Groizeleau allowed it and Nic a Bhaird’s subsequent pass was intercepted by Hannah Smith, who soon popped up on the left wing to turn an overlap into five points.

Into the second half, Lisa Thomson’s deliberate slap-down of an Irish pass earned her a yellow card, and a few phases later, Tyrrell’s footwork and speed saw her get the better of two defenders to close the gap to 12-10. Keohane was short and wide with the conversion attempt from the right, but the momentum was now with Ireland.

Burns made an impact off the bench, dashing in between two defenders to dot down under the posts and restore the Irish lead. However, Tyrrell miscued the conversion off her left boot and that miss came back to haunt Ireland. A lost lineout in the dying seconds handed possession back to Scotland and Louise McMillan struck from close range for the match-winning try (17-15), although again there was frustration with the referee as Nelson had come straight in off her feet at a prior ruck and went unpunished.

With the cup now out of Ireland’s reach, they had fifth place to play for in the final rounds and Spain were first up. All four new caps started and Anna Doyle had an early sight of the try-line before she was tackled short. Spain brought a number of fringe players to Russia like Ireland.

The sidelined Aoife Doyle, who had her right arm in a sling, watched on as the first half ended up scoreless with Spain failing to profit from Nic a Bhaird’s sin-binning for a deliberate knock-on, while Lane stood out for her tenacious work in defence and attack. The tackle count was high with Anna Doyle, Burns and Boles putting in some crucial hits, and a forward pass denied Ainhoa Portos a try past the half-time hooter.

Ireland managed to convert early second half pressure into points when replacement Anna McGann stepped off both feet and showed a clean pair of heels to Iera Echebarria, scoring from just inside the Spanish 10-metre line. Keohane converted and Ireland created a second try in the 11th minute, this time from their own 22.

Having forced a knock-on in defence, McGann soon shrugged off a tackle and her delayed pass put Tyrrell sprinting away for an 80-metre breakaway try, converted by Keohane. Emma Murphy’s mistimed challenge from the restart earned her a yellow, and Spain used the numerical advantage to run in a late consolation score through Amaia Erbina, reducing the arrears to 14-5.

Ireland had to come from behind against Italy in their final game in Kazan, with Michela Sillari’s clever pass sending Benedetta Mancini over after just 53 seconds. The Italians coughed up possession from the restart and following another powerful charge from Nic a Bhaird, Lane threw a dummy from a ruck and sped in under the posts for Keohane to convert.

Lane raided in behind the posts again in the fourth minute, scampering over via a Boles pass on the switch and an initial ruck penalty won by Burns. Nic a Bhaird handed off a defender to make it 21-5, with Katie Heffernan keeping Ireland on top at the breakdown and providing the assist.

Just 26 seconds after the restart Ireland crossed the whitewash again, this time Lane attacked in midfield from a tap penalty and Tyrrell cut in off her left to round a defender and dive in under the posts, adding the conversion herself. Italy had the final say, benefiting from Hogan’s sin-binning in the closing stages as they worked the ball wide for Sofia Stefan to double their try tally – 28-10.

It was a very positive finish to Ireland’s European campaign this summer, with players grasping the chance to gain valuable game-time against international opposition and press their claims for further inclusion as the 2018/19 season develops. The HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series kicks off in Glendale, Colorado in just seven weeks’ time.

Relive the Ireland Women’s and Men’s Sevens teams’ 2017/18 campaigns in our exclusive behind-the-scenes series – On The Road with the Ireland 7s.

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 RESULTS – RUGBY EUROPE SEVENS GRAND PRIX SERIES: ROUND 2:

Saturday, September 1 –

Pool C:

Ireland 14 Poland 17, Central Stadium, Kazan
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hannah Tyrrell, Aoife Doyle; Cons: Claire Keohane, Hannah Tyrrell

FULL VIDEO REPLAY – POOL C: IRELAND 14 POLAND 17 (50:20-1:12:32) by Rugby Europe

Team: Claire Boles, Katie Heffernan, Brittany Hogan, Emily Lane, Claire Keohane (capt), Aoife Doyle, Hannah Tyrrell.

Subs: Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Megan Burns, Anna Doyle, Anna McGann, Emma Murphy.

Ireland 12 Italy 7, Central Stadium, Kazan
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Hannah Tyrrell; Con: Claire Keohane

FULL VIDEO REPLAY – POOL C: IRELAND 12 ITALY 7 (44:26-1:03:26) by Rugby Europe

Team: Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Katie Heffernan, Brittany Hogan, Emily Lane, Claire Keohane (capt), Aoife Doyle, Hannah Tyrrell.

Subs: Claire Boles, Megan Burns, Anna Doyle, Anna McGann, Emma Murphy.

Ireland 27 England 0, Central Stadium, Kazan
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Claire Boles, Aoife Doyle, Megan Burns 2, Hannah Tyrrell; Con: Claire Keohane

FULL VIDEO REPLAY – POOL C: IRELAND 27 ENGLAND 0 (43:42-1:02:56) by Rugby Europe

Team: Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Katie Heffernan, Claire Boles, Emily Lane, Claire Keohane (capt), Aoife Doyle, Hannah Tyrrell.

Subs: Brittany Hogan, Megan Burns, Anna Doyle, Anna McGann, Emma Murphy.

Day 1 Round-Up – Ireland Women Save Best For Last With Big Win Over England

Sunday, September 2 –

Cup Quarter-Final: Scotland 17 Ireland 15, Central Stadium, Kazan
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Claire Boles, Hannah Tyrrell, Megan Burns

FULL VIDEO REPLAY – CUP QUARTER-FINAL: SCOTLAND 17 IRELAND 15 (1:12:40-1:33:10) by Rugby Europe

Team: Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Katie Heffernan, Claire Boles, Emily Lane, Claire Keohane (capt), Aoife Doyle, Hannah Tyrrell.

Subs: Brittany Hogan, Megan Burns, Anna Doyle, Anna McGann, Emma Murphy.

5th-8th Place Play-Off: Spain 5 Ireland 14, Central Stadium, Kazan
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Anna McGann, Hannah Tyrrell; Cons: Claire Keohane 2

FULL VIDEO REPLAY – 5TH-8TH PLACE PLAY-OFF: SPAIN 5 IRELAND 14 (01:04-24:41) by Rugby Europe

Team: Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Claire Boles, Brittany Hogan, Emily Lane, Claire Keohane (capt), Megan Burns, Anna Doyle.

Subs: Hannah Tyrrell, Anna McGann, Emma Murphy, Katie Heffernan.

5th-6th Place Play-Off: Ireland 28 Italy 10, Central Stadium Kazan
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Emily Lane 2, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Hannah Tyrrell; Cons: Claire Keohane 3, Hannah Tyrrell

FULL VIDEO REPLAY – 5TH-6TH PLACE PLAY-OFF: IRELAND 28 ITALY 10 (23:36-45:36) by Rugby Europe

Team: Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Claire Boles, Brittany Hogan, Emily Lane, Claire Keohane (capt), Megan Burns, Anna McGann.

Subs: Hannah Tyrrell, Anna Doyle, Emma Murphy, Katie Heffernan.

The full results, pools and final placings are available on the Rugby Europe tournament page.