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Murphy Crowe Finishes As World Series Top Try Scorer

Murphy Crowe Finishes As World Series Top Try Scorer

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe has been in prolific form for the Ireland Women's team on the World Series circuit ©Sam O'Byrne/IRFU

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe achieved another magical milestone as she was confirmed as the top try scorer in this season’s HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, following the completion of the sixth and final leg in Biarritz.

Murphy Crowe, who captained a youthful Ireland team at the HSBC Biarritz Sevens, added four more tries across the weekend to finish the 2018/19 campaign with 35 tries (in 33 matches). Canada’s Bianca Farella was second on 34 tries with Michaela Blyde (New Zealand) and Ellia Green (Australia) tied for third on 30 each.

The 24-year-old Tipperary speedster is the first player from outside of New Zealand and Australia to win the Gilbert Top Try Scorer award. Previous winners of the accolade have been Black Ferns legend Portia Woodman (2012/13, 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2017/18), Emilee Cherry of Australia (2013/14), and Blyde (2016/17).

Despite Murphy Crowe’s individual success, there was double disappointment for Ireland as they were beaten by England (24-17) and Scotland (26-14) at Stade Aguiléra earlier today. While obviously frustrated with a twelfth place finish in Biarritz on the back of finishing bottom of Pool B yesterday, the IRFU Women’s Sevens Programme can still look back on some landmark achievements across the six legs.

Ireland ended the series in eighth position for their highest ever finish, and armed with a new record points haul of 41. It is a jump of two places from last year and owes much to the historic Cup semi-final appearance and fourth-place finish in Sydney. They reached four quarter-finals in all, also notably finishing sixth in Glendale.

This season saw World Series debuts for Brittany Hogan, Emily Lane, Beibhinn Parsons and Megan Burns, while the squad showed their ability to go toe-to-toe with teams ranked above them, running eventual champions New Zealand and Australia to seven and two points respectively, and registering victories over bronze medallists Canada and European rivals Russia.

Burns, Claire Boles and Kathy Baker were brought into the starting line-up for Ireland’s opening game on day two in Biarritz – a Challenge Trophy semi-final against England – but they were playing catch-up early on after Deborah Fleming used a strong fend to notch a second-minute converted try.

Eve Higgins’ clever footwork unlocked the English defence for the ideal response from Ireland, who closed the gap to 7-5 on the back of strong runs by Boles and Burns. However, England replacements Abi Burton and Beth Wilcock restored the seven-point difference late on, the former with a turnover penalty and the latter with a pacy finish in the right corner.

Ireland conceded a soft third try early on the resumption, Hannah Tyrrell’s missed tackle allowing Heather Fisher to break clear from 40 metres out. That brought the best out of the girls in green’s attack, Tyrrell jinking into the 22 before good footwork again from Higgins and Hogan paved the way for Boles to crash over in the right corner.

Higgins nailed a terrific conversion to reduce the arrears to 19-12, only for Celia Quansah to steal away down the short side of a ruck and put England into a double-scores lead. The sides were split by seven points in the end (24-17), a last-gasp surge from Ireland seeing Flood and Higgins committing defenders and sending Murphy Crowe clear for her third try of the weekend.

In the 11th-12th place play-off, a gaping hole opened up at the side a ruck and Scotland’s Megan Gaffney scampered through it to give her side an early seven-point buffer. Some incisive running got the Irish attack firing, and Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird’s break and timely pass put the supporting Burns in under the posts, with five minutes gone.

Despite the Scots having Annabel Sergeant sin-binned for taking out Louise Galvin in the air, they moved back in front past the half-time hooter with a well-worked breakaway try from Lisa Thomson. 12-7 became 19-7 in the 11th minute when Ireland were left to rue a lost lineout as the ball was moved across to Rhona Lloyd who left Murphy Crowe in her wake for try number three.

Scotland captain Helen Nelson followed up on good work by Lloyd and Hannah Smith to snipe over from a close-in ruck, and Murphy Crowe did likewise – but from just outside the Irish 10-metre line – to run in a late consolation score, converted by Tyrrell, which proved all-important in her personal battle with Farella.

The next tournament for the Ireland Women is the first leg of the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series, which takes place in Marcoussis, France on June 29-30. That is followed by the Rugby Europe Olympic qualifying tournament on July 13-14 in Kazan, Russia, where the winners will secure a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The final tournament of the season is the second leg of the Sevens Grand Prix Series which is in Kharkiv in the Ukraine on July 20-21.

The Ireland Sevens jerseys are available to buy online here from Elverys Intersport, official sports retailer of the IRFU.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2018/19 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Biarritz Sevens, Stade Aguiléra, Biarritz, France,  June 15-16):

Kathy Baker (Blackrock/Leinster)
Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster)
Megan Burns (Tullamore/Leinster)
Aoife Doyle (Shannon/Railway Union/Munster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster)
Brittany Hogan (Railway Union/Ulster)
Emily Lane (Mallow/Munster)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster) (capt)
Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (Old Belvedere/Munster)
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Results – Biarritz Sevens:

Saturday, June 15 –

POOL B:

Australia 27 Ireland 5, Stade Aguiléra
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Stacey Flood

Team: Louise Galvin, Kathy Baker, Brittany Hogan, Emily Lane, Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (capt).

Subs used: Stacey Flood, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Megan Burns, Aoife Doyle. Not used: Claire Boles.

Canada 27 Ireland 10, Stade Aguiléra
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe

Team: Louise Galvin, Kathy Baker, Brittany Hogan, Emily Lane, Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (capt).

Subs used: Stacey Flood, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Megan Burns, Aoife Doyle. Not used: Claire Boles.

Spain 12 Ireland 10, Stade Aguiléra
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Emily Lane, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe

Team: Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin, Brittany Hogan, Emily Lane, Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (capt).

Subs used: Kathy Baker, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Megan Burns. Not used: Aoife Doyle, Claire Boles.

Day 1 Round-Up – Ireland Women Pipped By Spain In Battle For Biarritz Quarter-Final

Sunday, June 16 –

CHALLENGE SEMI-FINAL: England 24 Ireland 17, Stade Aguiléra
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins, Claire Boles, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Con: Eve Higgins

Team: Louise Galvin, Claire Boles, Kathy Baker, Emily Lane, Eve Higgins, Megan Burns, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (capt).

Subs used: Hannah Tyrrell, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Brittany Hogan, Stacey Flood. Not used: Aoife Doyle.

11TH-12TH PLACE PLAY-OFF: Ireland 14 Scotland 26, Stade Aguiléra
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Megan Burns, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Cons: Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell

Team: Louise Galvin, Claire Boles, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Emily Lane, Eve Higgins, Megan Burns, Aoife Doyle.

Subs used: Kathy Baker, Brittany Hogan, Hannah Tyrrell, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood.

Full Biarritz Sevens Results & Final Standings

2018/19 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series:

USA (Denver), Infinity Park, Glendale, October 20-21 – 6th Place/10 Points
DUBAI, Sevens Stadium, Dubai, November 29-30 – 8th Place/6 Points
AUSTRALIA (Sydney), Spotless Stadium, Sydney, February 1-3 – 4th Place/14 Points
JAPAN (Kitakyushu), Mikuni World Stadium, Kitakyushu, April 20-21 – 7th Place/8 Points
CANADA (Langford), Westhills Stadium, Vancouver Island, May 11-12 – 11th Place/2 Points
FRANCE (Biarritz), Stade Aguiléra, Biarritz, June 15-16 – 12th Place/1 Point